By Joshua Price/Sports Editor
Westbrook Christian High School wasted no time disposing visiting North Sand Mountain High School from the Class 2A baseball playoffs. The fourth-ranked Warriors defeated the Thundering Herd, 10-0, in a doubleheader at the newly christened “William Stewart Field” in Rainbow City. The first game lasted only five innings and the second went seven.
Junior Mikhail Cazenave and sophomore Jake Kilgo each earned wins for Westbrook on the mound. Cazenave struck out five batters and allowed four hits in the opener, while Kilgo struck out six and allowed only one hit.
“Jake did a great job pitching tonight,” Westbrook Christian head coach Matt Kennedy said. “Mikhail pitched well once he relaxed. Jake doesn’t waste much time out there. He throws strikes and lets our defense play.”
John Mayfield highlighted the Warrior’s offensive attack. The senior shortstop batted 3-for-3 in the opener with a walk, a double, two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. In the nightcap, Mayfield batted 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a stolen base and a solo homerun deep over the left field fence.
Westbrook jumped on North Sand Mountain quickly in the second game.
Matt Reaves and Jonathan Ford each earned RBIs in the first inning, scoring Mayfield and Cazenave and the Warriors led 2-0 after one inning.
Josh Calhoun doubled and Clay Templeton singled to lead off the second inning for Westbrook. Mayfield singled to left field to drive in the speedy Calhoun. Kilgo and Cazenave each slapped sacrifice flies to centerfield to score Templeton and Mayfield. The Warriors led 5-0 after two innings.
Hayden Hendrick walked to start the third inning and scored to extend the Westbrook lead to 6-0.
Mayfield’s homerun came with two outs in the sixth inning. The shot demoralized North Sand Mountain, and extended the Westbrook lead to 7-0.
“It was a fastball up-and-in,” Mayfield said of his homerun. “I picked it up pretty quick and was able to get a good bat on it.”
The Warriors (the visiting team for the second game) reeled off three runs in the seventh inning to seal the win.
Blaine Beaird blasted a home run in the seventh inning. The shot arguably matched that of Mayfield’s in length as it disappeared into the dimly lit left field parking lot.
Westbrook started the first game off a bit shaky defensively, but quickly settled into rhythm.
The Warriors plated a pair of runs in the second inning, four in the third and three in the fourth. Mayfield drove in the game-winning run in the fifth inning with a single up the middle.
Kennedy said he was not alarmed at his team’s slow start.
“We got loose a little too early tonight. We had eleven innings of good baseball today (after the first inning). This group has the experience of being in the playoffs the last four years and that makes a big difference in how they carry themselves. These guys are a little different [from previous teams]. They stay loose and keep me loose. It’s the first round [of the playoffs] and our guys came out and took care of business. We will come back on Monday and get back to work.”
Westbrook (26-10) will host Section (17-9) in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs on April 27.
Section defeated Area 13 Runner-up Pleasant Valley to advance to the second round.
“Section has some veterans and they play sound baseball,” Kennedy said. “We have some things we need to work on to improve our offense this week.”
The second round matchup this week with Section will be a rematch of the first round last year, which the Warriors won handily in two games.
Kennedy said Westbrook will hold a pitching advantage over the Lions.
“On the mound, they haven’t seen anybody but Mikhail [Cazenave]. We pitched Mikhail and Barr [Miller] against them last year, so our pitchers will be new to them this year. Coach [Bob] Cartrett does a great job with our pitchers and he gets them ready for each game. We have five guys we can send out there anytime and they can keep us in the game. That is a key for us.”
The first pitch of the Westbrook-Section matchup is scheduled for 5 p.m. on April 27 at Westbrook.