Photo: Sardis High’s Jake Ross steals home plate ahead of the tag of West Limestone catcher Alec Braugher in the bottom of the third inning of the Lions’ 9-3 win over West Limestone in the second round of the Class 2A state baseball playoff series on Apr. 27 in Lester. (Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter)
By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
Sardis High roared back from a game 1 loss in impressive fashion, beating West Limestone in games 2 and 3 to win their second-round Class 4A state baseball playoff series last Saturday in Lester.
The Lions travel to No. 8 Oneonta for the quarterfinals on May 4. Friday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. The if-necessary game is set for Saturday, May 5, at 1 p.m.
It’s the first time the Lions have reached the state playoff quarterfinals since 1987.
Sardis 12, West Limestone 1
The Lions dominated Saturday’s series finale, building a 12-0 cushion before giving up an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sardis grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jake Ross was hit by a pitch, Logan Gaskin doubled and Preston Morris singled home Ross.
The Lions plated four runs in their half of the fourth frame. Connor Morris led off with a single and scored off a throwing error on Tyler Goosby’s bunt. Goosby gained third on the error.
Kale Walker’s single drove in Goosby and Ross and Gaskin each delivered an RBI double, making it 5-0.
Sardis stretched its margin to 9-0 in the top of the fifth. Dax Lee was hit by a pitch, Connor Morris singled and Anthony Coffey walked to load the bases. Braxton Brooks drew a walk, forcing home Lee.
Walker followed with a two-run double, plating Morris and Coffey. Ross’ single scored Walker.
The Lions added three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Walker and Preston Morris both received walks and scored on Blake Wright’s double. Wright then scored on a wild pitch, making it 12-0.
Sardis finished with 11 hits. Walker, Ross, Gaskin and Connor Morris all contributed two hits.
In six and one-third innings, winning pitcher Peyton Wehrwein allowed four hits.
Sardis 9, West Limestone 3
Batting as the home team, the Lions pushed across five runs in the bottom of the third to seize command on Friday, Apr. 27.
Connor Morris led off with a bunt single and reached second on an error. Goosby walked, and Brooks’ sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Walker’s sacrifice fly drove in Morris.
Goosby’s courtesy runner, Peyton Ray, scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Ross ripped a double into the left-center field gap and then stole third and home.
Gaskin walked and stole second. Preston Morris singled home Gaskin, and Wright’s double plated Morris for a 5-0 lead.
West Limestone scored its first run in the top of the fourth. Sardis answered in the bottom of the inning when Brooks reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch, stole third and then scored on Walker’s single to left.
The Lions increased their advantage to 9-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Preston Morris earned a leadoff walk, Wright recorded an infield single and Lee laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Connor Morris belted a two-run single to left. Lee was thrown out at third on Morris’ hit. Coffey reached on a throwing error that scored Connor Morris.
Eighth-grader Brodie Samples was the winning pitcher. He left in the top of the sixth inning after reaching his maximum pitch limit. Preston Morris finished the game in relief.
West Limestone 15, Sardis 5
Sardis took a 4-0 lead after the first inning, but the Wildcats outscored the Lions 15-1 the rest of the way, ending the game in the bottom of the sixth.
In the Sardis first, Brooks singled, Walker walked and Ross singled to load the bases for Gaskin, whose fielder’s choice forced out Brooks at home plate. Preston Morris then stepped up and stroked a two-run single. An error on his hit allowed Gaskin to score. Wright’s grounder drove in Morris, making it 4-0.
Alec Baugher slugged a two-out, three-run homer off the scoreboard in right-center field, however, putting the Wildcats in front 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Ross and Gaskin started the Sardis sixth with consecutive singles. Ross scored on a passed ball, trimming it to 6-5.
West Limestone erupted for nine runs in the bottom of the sixth by capitalizing on five hits, four walks, two errors and a wild pitch.