Sardis dries out Moody following weather delay

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

A two- and one-half-hour rain delay did little to put a damper on Sardis’ production in the first round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs on Friday, April 19.
With Game 1 starting at 7:30 instead of 5 p.m. and game 2 finishing shortly before midnight, the Lions (19-11) outscored Moody 29 to 3 in Sardis City.
“Basically, we had a lot of the players’ dads out there working to get the field playable,” said Sardis head coach Kevin Vinson. “The outfield wasn’t in great shape, but the infield was pretty good.”
The Lions took the opener, 18-3 and the nightcap by a score of 11-0, belting out 22 hits and 24 RBI in the process. Both games ended in five innings per the 10-run mercy rule.
Starting pitchers Blaze Gerhart and Conner Lowery limited the Blue Devils to six hits while striking out 13.
“Those two guys were phenomenal,” said Vinson. “They stayed ahead in the count with two strikes for the most part and made the pitches that they had to. They also were able to get out of a few tough situations, and I was proud of them for that.”
Sardis wasted little time in taking the lead in game 1 after Gerhart retired Moody in order in the top of the first. Four Blue Devil errors led to five Lion runs in the bottom of the inning.
Respective base hits by Carson Gillian (pictured above), Trey Thornton and Kaden Walters, along with a sacrifice fly from Russ Wiggs, made it 9-0.
Zane Smith’s two-run single in the third and Braden Wright’s steal of home in the fourth drew Moody within 9-3, but the Lions pushed across nine more runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the game out of reach. Two-run base hits by Gillilan and Derek Tarvin, a bases-loaded walk by Gerhart, a steal of home by Brayden Whidden, an RBI single from Wiggs and scores off errors by Wiggs and Luke Martin increased the Sardis advantage to 18-3 and erased any doubt about the outcome.
Gerhart retired the Blue Devils in order in the top of the fifth, completing a pitching line that included two earned runs, three walks and seven strikeouts. Gillian went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored; Carroll went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored; Walters went 2-for-2 with three RBI and a run scored; Tarvin went 2-for-4 with two RBI; Wiggs had a hit, two RBI and three runs scored; and Lowery had a hit and two runs scored.
In game 2, Lowery picked up where Gerhart left off. In five innings, Lowery limited Moody to two hits and two walks while fanning six. He retired 14 of the 19 batters he faced, with only one Moody baserunner reaching third.
Lowery received all the support he would require on when Walters’ base hit plated Wiggs and Widden in the top of the second.
In the third, Gerhart doubled and scored on an error, Thornton singled in Gillilan, Martin came home on a sacrifice fly and Thornton scored off Walters’ base hit for a 7-0 lead.
Gerhart and Martin both hit solo home runs in the fourth to make it 9-0, while Whidden’s two-RBI in the fifth pushed the lead to 11-0. Lowery struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to send Moody packing and punch Sardis’ ticket to the second round.
“The [Moody] pitchers tried to throw some off-speed stuff at us, and we were able to stay back and drive the ball,” said Vinson. “When [Moody] brought some guys in that they thought might get a few fastballs by us, we were able to sit on those pitches, too. Our guys were just zoned in at the plate.”
Gerhart went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored; Walters went 2-for-3 with four RBI; Martin went 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored; and Whidden and Thornton each had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
Sardis will visit Madison Academy in a second round series starting Thursday, April 25 with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. An if-necessary game 3 is set for Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m.
The Lions twice defeated Madison Academy during the regular season with scores of 6-4 and 10-3.
“[Madison Academy] is a really good team that is well-coached,” said Vinson. “It’s going to take us going up there and putting a really good effort together in order to get some wins.”

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