No. 1 Marist School swept No. 2 Benedictine Military School (5-0, 2-1) in Georgia High School Association’s 4A baseball state championship May 19 at Coolray Field.
The Marist War Eagles (33-9) started the first game against the Benedictine Cadets (33-6-1) with hot bats, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Hare hit a two-run homer to push the score to 3-0 early on.
Following Hare’s big hit, the War Eagles’ defense took over for most of game one. Marist’s defense came up with plays such as a diving catch in center field from Andrew Mannelly and an unassisted double play from Thomas Rollauer.
In the fifth inning, Champ Davis—who also helped lead Marist to a state championship in football— extended Marist’s lead to 4-0 with an RBI double, and Rollauer pushed it to five with an RBI single.
With two on base in the seventh inning, Rollauer, Davis and Hare linked up for another Marist double-play to stop a comeback attempt from Benedictine.
Preston Larmore finished game one with six shutout innings for Marist, striking out two batters in the process. Andrew Williams earned the save.
Game two featured more drama than game one, when Carter Holten—Benedictine’s ace and one of the most decorated pitchers in GHSA history—took the mound. Holten finished the game totaling 439 strikeouts in his high school career. His total was just shy of the GHSA record of 519, despite Holten losing most of his junior season due to the pandemic.
After Holten forced a scoreless top half of the first inning, Benedictine short stop Kameron Edge scored by stealing home on a dropped pitch to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead.
Hare responded with an RBI in the top of the fourth inning, but it was all defense besides the two early runs. Ryan McTighe threw the first six innings for Marist and gave up just one run and two hits.
It wouldn’t be until the seventh inning when a Benedictine error gave Marist some momentum. In the seventh inning, Rollauer hit a pop fly between first and second base, and a normally routine catch was dropped by Benedictine.
Rollauer got on base, and a few batters later—with two outs and bases loaded—Grey Taylor hit shot into right field for a walk-off RBI, ending the state championship series with a 2-1 game two.
For Marist, the win marks the 14th baseball state championship in program history in the War Eagles’ 21st state title appearance.
The War Eagles finished the season with a 33-9 record and are led by head coach Mike Strickland.