With their backs to the wall, the Parkview Panthers came out swinging Tuesday afternoon in Colquitt County.
A day after rallying for seven runs late in an 8-4 win over Colquitt in Game 2 of the best-of-three Class AAAAA series, the Panthers scored all of the runs they needed in the first inning to beat the Packers 8-2 in Game 3, sending them to the state finals.
The Panthers (27-9) scored six runs in the top of the first inning, then held Colquitt (22-14) to just four hits.
“We didn’t play real well in the first 10 innings of this series," said Parkview coach Chan Brown after the team arrived back at the school around 8:15 p.m. and was greeted by a large group of cheering fans. "But we turned it around and after that we played Parkview baseball. I’m very very proud of the way they handled it."
Parkview, which has won three state championships, will be playing for its first title since winning back-to-back championships in 2001-02.
Parkview will play Hillgrove in the state final, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday with a doubleheader at Parkview. Game 3, if needed, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday.
“Hillgrove is a very good baseball team, so we've got our work cut out for us," Brown said. "They have a kid in the mid-90s on the mound. We've just got to go back and get to work for a couple days and work on the fundamentals."