Messenger file photo by Alex Chaney
Hokes Bluff’s path to the Class 4A state baseball championship series got little bit shorter last week.
The top-ranked Eagles dispatched Fayette County, 5-1 and 2-1 in a doubleheader sweep in the quarterfinal round on May 3 in Fayette.
Hokes Bluff (25-3) visits Brooks on Wednesday for a best-of-three semifinal series.
Hokes Bluff received strong pitching performances in both games. In seven innings in the opener, Dylan Teague struck out 10 while scattering one run, three hits and two walks. In the nightcap, Payton Lemons fanned four while allowing five hits, one run and two walks.
“We didn’t hit the ball, but sometimes good pitching does that to you,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Robertson. “I thought we did what we had to do to win both games. We got some clutch hits when we needed to and our pitchers made good pitches when they had to. We also played some pretty good defense.”
In game one, the Eagles were trailing 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning when respective RBI singles from Hunter Burke (pictured above) and David Vest put Hokes Bluff on top for good. The Eagles ended up scoring five runs in the inning for a 5-1 advantage.
The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Fayette County loaded the bases with no outs, but Teague retired three straight batters to preserve the victory.
As the visiting team in game 2, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first before Houston Edwards’ RBI base hit in the bottom of the inning tied the game.
Hokes Bluff then pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the third when Teague doubled and scored on Koby Addison’s base hit.
Caleb McGinnis pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief.
“We’ve been relying on good pitching so much lately that it’s scary, so we’ve got to hit the ball a little bit more and score more runs,” said Robertson. “Brooks will be the best team we’ve played all year, so we’ll see how good we really are.”