Sardis sweeps Hayden in first round


Photo: Sardis’ Luke Martin (wearing white helmet) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run during the Lions’ sweep over Hayden in the first round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs on Friday, April 21 in Sardis City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

A pair of solid pitching efforts spearheaded Sardis’ first round sweep over Hayden in the first round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs on Friday, April 21 in Sardis City.
Luke Weems’ complete game effort in Game 1 propelled the No. 4 Lions (24-5) to a 10-3 victory. Weems scattered 10 hits while striking out four in seven innings. He did not issue a walk. In Game 2, Blaze Gehart allowed six hits and three walks while fanning 11 in a 7-2 victory.
“Both guys come ready to play every day, regardless of the situation,” said Sardis head coach Kevin Vinson. “They both did a great job, not only in staying ahead in the count but forcing contacts in certain situations to keep their pitch counts down. They show up ready to compete and give us a chance every time they go out.”
Sardis jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Game 1 thanks to RBI singles from Carson Gillilan and Gerhart in the bottom of the first, Levi Martin’s two-run home run in the second and Trey Thornton’s sacrifice fly in the third.
Hayden (17-12) drew within three runs in the top of the fourth via Caden Mason’s two-run dinger, but a five-run fifth inning by the Lions put the Wildcats in a 10-2 hole. Gerhart blasted a two-run home run during the inning, while Russ Wiggs later lined a two-run single for an eight-run advantage.
Mason singled in a run in the top of the seventh with two outs before Weems struck out the next batter to end the game.
“We left a few runners on base in some situations I’d have liked to see us capitalize on, but overall, we had a pretty good day offensively,” said Vinson. “Our offense has been good all year, so hopefully between our bats and our pitching, we’ll have a shot every time we go out.”
Gerhart kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard through five innings in Game 2. He retired the first 15 of 18 Hayden batters, including 10 by strikeout. As the visiting team on the scoreboard, the Lions took the lead for good in the bottom of the first when a base hit from Thornton plated Weems and Gillilan.
Gillilan doubled in Wiggs in the third, while Gerhart’s two-bagger later in the inning scored Martin and Gillilan. Baylor Garrard’s two-out base hit then plated Kohl Holland for a six-run lead. Thornton singled home Weems in the fifth to make it 7-0.
The Wildcats pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to trim the Lion lead to five runs, but that was as close as Hayden would get.
For the series, Gillilan went 5-for-8 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored; Weems went 5-for-8 with two runs scored; Thornton went 4-for-7 with a double, three RBI and four runs scored; Garrard went 4-for-6 with a double, an RBI and a run scored; Gerhart went 3-for-7 with a home run, two doubles, five RBI and a run scored; Andrew Felter went 2-for-3; Martin went 3-for-7 with a home run, two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored and Wiggs went 2-for-7 with a double, two RBI and three runs scored.
For Hayden, Carson Snow went 4-for-6 with a double and two runs scored, while Mason went 3-for-6 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored.
Sardis travels to Ardmore for a second-round series this Friday (April 28). Games 1 and 2 are scheduled for 5 and 7:30 p.m., respectively, while an if-necessary third game will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“I watched [Ardmore] play last week, and they’re a really scrappy bunch,” said Vinson. “They’ll throw a couple of lefties at us, so it looks like I’ll be throwing some batting practice this week.”

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