MOULTRIE -- The last time the Colquitt County High baseball team visited Don Shaw Field in Kennesaw, it was eliminated from the state playoffs by a Harrison High team built around future major leaguer Corey Patterson.
The Packers returned the favor on Wednesday when they sent the Hoyas packing by sweeping a doubleheader 8-5 and 10-9 to advance to next week's state semifinals.
But the Packers went about their business in much different fashion.
Colquitt got contributions up and down the lineup and rode two shutout innings by a pitcher who hadn't been to the mound in nearly a month.
In winning the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader in dramatic fashion with a run in the bottom of the seventh, the Packers were able to rally from a five-run deficit.
In reaching the state Final Four for the first time since 1998, the Packers will play host to Fayette County, beginning with a Monday doubleheader, tentatively scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
The Tigers advanced after winning a decisive third game 10-5 over South Gwinnett on Thurs-day in Snellville.
East Coweta will face Redan in the other semifinal.
Redan eliminated Lowndes by winning the third game of their series on Thursday, 17-12, in Valdosta.
The state championship series will start at the home field of the Colquitt County-Fayette County winner on Friday, June 6.
The Packers got another excellent pitching performance from Aaron Eubanks to win Wednesday's opener 8-5.
Colquitt used a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by Will Southwell's two-run single and Eubanks' two-run double to hold off the Hoyas.
But Harrison appeared to have Colquitt on the run in the second game.
Sophomore pinch-hitter Tyler Stephens hit a two-run homer in the third to put the Hoyas up 3-2 and he stroked a run-scoring single in the fourth to make it 4-2.
Grant Abel, the Hoyas next batter, cracked a three-run homer and Harrison appeared to have all the momentum it would need with a 7-2 lead.
But the Packers answered in the bottom of the fourth with Cody Turpen driving one run with a sacrifice fly to the second baseman. Will Southwell followed with his seventh homer of the season -- a two-run shot -- to cut the Harrison lead to 7-5.
But Harrison added two more runs in the top of the fifth to lead 9-5.
Those were the last runs the Hoyas would score this season, however.
When Lee Henry doubled in a run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Harrison lead to 9-6, Hoyas coach Mark Elkins lifted sophomore starter Zach Meade and replaced him with Marc Robinson.
Robinson threw two strikes to the first batter he faced, Packers left-fielder Johnathan Walker. Walker took the first, but deposited the second over the left field fence, just inside the pole, for a three-run homer to tie the game 9-9.
"That was a big one for us," Packers coach Jerry Croft said.
Southwell went to the mound for the first time in the playoffs in the bottom of the sixth and while the Hoyas got three base runners on him over the next two innings, none scored.
"They have a tough lineup," Croft said of Harrison. "And that makes Southwell's performance that much more impressive.
"He really did a great job shutting them down."
Southwell's work set up the wacky finish.
Walker started the bottom of the seventh by reaching on an error on the Harrison second baseman on a routine ground ball.
Turpen, attempting to sacrifice with two strikes on him, got down a bunt that Robinson fielded cleanly. But the throw went down the right field line and Walker, who scored five runs in the doubleheader, motored all the way from first to score the winning run.
"I'm extremely proud of these guys for coming from behind like they did," Croft said. "We did what we needed to do.
"We sure gave our fans their money's worth."
The bunt was just another example of Turpen's contributions. In the Packers' seven playoff games, he has reached base 15 times and has scored 11 runs.
Southwell, who went 5-for-8 with five runs batted in in the doubleheader, raised his batting average to .436.
In the playoffs, the junior shortstop is hitting .444 with three doubles and two home runs and has driven in 12 runs. He has had at least one hit and one RBI in each playoff game and has taken over the team lead in RBIs with 28.
Eubanks now has four of the Packers six playoff wins and is 10-2 this season.
But Eubanks also has been contributing with bat. He is 11-for-22 in the playoffs and has two three-hit games. He is hitting .372 for the season.
Brandon Connell also has been hot of late. The senior second baseman is hitting .458 in state playoff games and was 5-for-8 with a pair of doubles on Wednesday.
The second-game victory raises the Packers record to 25-8. The number of wins is the second-most in school history, eclipsed only by the 1997 state championship team's 29 wins.
PACKERS NOTES: Two former Colquitt County pitchers continue to progress in their professional careers.
Matt Parker is 3-1 with two saves anda 1.96 ERA for the Huntsville Stars, the Milwaukee Brewers Class AA affiliate in the Southern League. In 16 games, including one start, Parker has thrown 36.2 innings, given up 27 hits, 11 runs, eight earned, and has walked 12 while striking out 28.
Hayden Gliemmo, pitching for the Anaheim Angels' Class A Midwest League affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also is 3-1 and has a 3.34 ERA. In 29.2 innings, he has allowed 22 hits and 12 runs, 11 of which have been earned. The left-hander has walked 14 and struck out 27.
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This Week's Circulars
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