The boys of Bogart have done it. Titan baseball is a back-to-back state champion.

North Oconee defeated LaGrange in a three-game thriller to claim the GHSA Class AAAA title for a second straight year. 

After dominating game one 11-1, the Titans lost game two 6-5 in 10 innings despite taking an early lead. The state championship would be decided in a winner-take-all game the next morning.

“We told those guys coming into game three, like, this is our series,” said head coach Jay Lasley. “Those guys showed up Saturday morning and there was no nerves. They were just focused, they were ready to go. They came in, got their swings in, very businesslike. And when we showed up to the park on game three, honestly, we showed up like it was just another game.”

In the deciding meeting, North Oconee never trailed, taking an early 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to scoring singles from Grayson Godbee, Kyle Jones and KJ Moon. 

The Grangers’ cut their deficit to two in the third inning, but they were unable to find any momentum. The final out came in the next play when a throw from center fielder Kyle Jones to catcher Cale Stricklin beat the runner at home, preventing another run from LaGrange.

While the next two innings were scoreless, a double by Jack Farbis in the sixth was enough to bring another runner home.

And the rest is history. The Titans won 4-1 to reclaim their title.

“When that final out went up, I think just the pride and the happiness for those kids, that they had a goal when they went up and they achieved it,” Lasley said.

This championship series was a rematch of last year’s finals where the Titans swept LaGrange in to claim the program’s first title.

All season long, Lasley and the Titans were told they would never live up to last year’s team, that they wouldn’t be able to repeat as state champions.

“Instead of focusing on what we weren't, they focused on what we could be,” Lasley said. “And that was a really good team, a really tight knit group of kids who were determined to get back.”

Nearly a dozen seniors are now done playing for the program. In just four years, the class has accomplished what many players can only dream of.

After a Final Four appearance in 2021, the seniors led North Oconee to its first and second state titles.

“We always tell them, the game’s the test. It's the what it takes to be successful every day in practice, what it takes to be successful in January when we're in the cages hitting on a rainy day. What it takes to be successful in the weight room on a Tuesday in October when you're so far away from the season,” Lasley said. “Those guys hold the standard of how hard we're going to work and what we're going to do.”

North Oconee overcame expectations and battled injuries and position changes throughout the season. Once the playoffs came, the team still had their eyes on 34, the number of wins it would take to bring home the title.

The Titans knew they could accomplish it because of what their manta, Built Different, stands for.

“We believe it means more, and we're going to work harder and we're going to put more time in and we're going to work harder in the weight room,” Lasley said. “It's just the fact that we're going to do what other people won't do to be successful. And so it started last year with that idea of ‘we're not like other teams, we’re built different.’”

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