No. 10 Ranburne (20-6) at No. 6 Westbrook (21-12)
Today 4:30, Saturday 1 p.m.
By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
If there were still any doubters, last week’s second-round series sweep against No. 1-ranked Section proved that Westbrook Christian High’s baseball team belongs to be mentioned in the same breath in conversations about title contenders in Class 2A.
“We just went out and played baseball,” Warriors coach Matt Kennedy said. “Anytime your pitching is good and you play good defense, you have a good shot at winning. We have been lucky to have both in just about every game this year.”
The pitching was nothing short of spectacular in the 8-3, 3-2 (eight innings) series win over Section.
Mikhail Cazenave pitched a complete game to start the series. That performance was followed by a solid outing by Jake Kilgo, who was relieved by Matthew Reaves, in the second game. Kilgo pitched six innings, with Reaves earning a two-inning victory.
“The guys only gave up three earned runs for the series,” Kennedy said. “If I had to point to any one area that has helped us win more than any, it would be those seven pitchers.”
The Lions were only able to score five runs – three earned.
With Cazenave hurling a complete game, Kennedy had lots of pitching options to finish the series. Alabama High School Athletic Association rules prohibit pitchers from throwing more than 10 innings in a five-day period. Therefore, had the need arisen, Cazenave could’ve climbed the mound for up to three more innings.
Kilgo and Reaves, however, made sure that a second Cazenave appearance was unecessary.
Kennedy said that Cazenave’s earned run average is below 1.00, while Kilgo and Reaves are both under 2.00. That’s as solid as an iron bar, especially this time of year, when they’ve pitched in a lot of games.
What makes Kilgo’s performance even more special is that he played centerfield in the series opener – and stole five bases.
As for Ranburne? Kennedy said that as far as he’s been able to determine, the Bulldogs are very similar to the Warriors.
However, Kennedy is a believer in the “worry about yourself” theory of baseball. In other words, play your game the way you were taught to play it, no matter who you’re playing. That theory has worked well for Westbrook.
Ranburne defeated Pleasant Valley, 5-2, 6-4, last weekend.