By Chris McCarthy/Editor
After escaping with a 6-4 opening win in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs on Friday (Apr. 22), Gaston rolled to a 10-1 win in the nightcap to post a doubleheader sweep over Southeastern at GHS.
The Bulldogs (14-10) host Sumiton Christian on Friday (Apr. 29) in a best-of-three second round series. The teams will play a doubleheader staring a 1 p.m. with an if-necessary game slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
In game 1, Gaston starter Alexander Allen bounced back from a four-run fourth inning to notch the win. After retiring the side in order in the top of the fifth, he escaped a two-out with runners-on-second-and-third situation in the sixth with a strikeout.
“If they get those runs across right there, we could have been in a little bit of trouble,” said Gaston head coach Jesse Pruitt. “Alexander did an excellent job right there.”
A Mustang batter reached second base with one out in the seventh, but Allen fanned the final two Southeastern batters to put the ‘Dawgs up 1-0.
“Alexander hit his spots pretty good, and other than getting his pitch count up in the [fourth] inning, I thought he did really well,” said Pruett.
In seven innings, Allen struck out 12 while allowing four hits, three earned runs and one walk.
While the visitors from Remlap stranded four base runners over the first three innings, the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on consecutive RBI doubles from Jesse Samples and Bryant Allen. Gaston increased its advantage to four runs in third when Samples and Alexander Allen each scored on an error.
The Mustangs, however, erased that deficit in the fourth. Three fielding errors and a two-run double by Bailey Boak led to four runs and a tied ball game.
“I just told the kids to stay calm and focus on what we needed to do,” said Pruett.
Gaston regained the lead in the bottom of the inning when Alexander Allen’s base hit plated Tanner Wade, and in the fifth Kevin Hollingsworth’s sacrifice fly brought home Bryant Allen to make it 6-4.
Bryant went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Samples went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Alexander Allen had a hit, an RBI and two runs scored.
Albert Tinney took the loss for the Mustangs, giving up seven hits, five earned runs and four walks while fanning seven.