By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Coosa Christian exploded for 21 runs while allowing none in a 10-0, 11-0 doubleheader sweep of Sklyine on Thursday (Apr. 21) in the opening round of the Class 1A state baseball playoffs in Gadsden.
“It was those types of games that everything came together – hitting, pitching and defense,” said Coosa head coach Joey Millican. “We’ve been working really hard in all those areas, and it’s really coming together for us at the right time.”
The Conquerors (22-2) rode the near-perfect pitching performance of Jackson Justus in Game 1 to defeat Skyline 10-0 in a five-inning contest. Justus gave up a single in the first inning to Hunter Grider, who was thrown out attempting to steal second. Justus went on to strike out 11 and walk one.
“Jackson has done it all year long for us,” said Millican. “He basically overpowered [Skyline]. He threw really crisp and really hit his spots like he was supposed to. They really never put the ball in play on him.”
Caleb Garrett led off the bottom of the first with a hit, followed by a walk to Alex Holman. Caden Davidson delivered a two-RBI single and Justus followed with an RBI base hit to give Coosa a 3-0 lead.
The Conquerors added two runs in the third inning, four more in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Kasey Kendell was the losing pitcher for the Vikings (6-10).
Caden Davidson had two hits and three RBIs for the Conquerors.
Game 2 was almost a carbon copy of the opener. The Conquerors jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and received a one-hit performance from starting pitcher Caleb Garrett on their way to the 11-0 win in five innings. In five innings, Garrett struck out eight and walked none.
“Caleb pitched to contact, and that’s what we like with him,” said Millican. “He kept the ball down in the zone and [Skyline] really couldn’t keep up with him.”
Garrett also stole home in the fourth inning.
“We were timing the Skyline pitcher and noticed he did a certain motion before he started his windup,” said Millican. “Caleb got a good jump and executed the play really well.”
Coosa added one run in the second, five in the fourth and two more in the fifth. The Conquerors banged out 14 hits for the game.
Ashton Clemmons led the Conquerors at the plate, going 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. Davidson also went 3-for-4. Alex Holman, Wesley Grizzard and Dawson Ashley each had two hits.
“It’s like Caden has gotten better with each game this year,” said Millican. “He hit the ball hard all day and just did a tremendous job at the plate.”
Coosa Christian either hosts Cedar Bluff or travels to Woodville in the second round next Friday (Apr. 29).