Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Eli Grace steals second base during the Warriors’ sweep of Addison in the first round of the Class 2A state baseball playoffs on April 22 in Rainbow City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
It was business as usual for the Westbrook Christian baseball team in the first round of the 2022 postseason.
The Warriors (14-12) won their sixth straight playoff series and 10 of its last 12 with a 13-3, 9-2 sweep of Addison on Friday, April 22, in Rainbow City. The defending Class 2A state champions host Sulligent in a second-round series beginning this Friday, April 29.
Westbrook wasted little time in jumping on the Bulldogs, taking an 8-0 lead in the opener before the visitors got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Eli Grace and Sawyer Gurley came home in the top of the first for the Warriors. Cameron White’s RBI base hit in the following inning plated Noah Wright and Andrew Martin, while White and Hugh Windle scored later in the frame to make it 6-0.
The Bulldogs scored a pair of runs in the third to pull within four runs, but Wright scored in the third and Brodie Self came home in the fourth. A two-RBI double by Jackson Bryant in the fifth stretch the Warrior advantage to 10-3, while an RB base hit by Martin and a run-scoring double from Self in the sixth ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
Self kept the Addison bats in check for the most part, scattering four hits, one earned run and three walks while striking out nine in six innings. He helped his cause by going 3-for-5 with two doubles three RBI and a run scored. Grace went 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored; Bryant went 2-for-3 with four RBI; Wright went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored; and White had a hit, two RBI and two runs scored.
The Bulldogs fared little better with Windle on the mound in Game 2. The senior righthander went the distance, allowing four hits, one earned run while fanning 13. He did not issue a walk. Following the visitors’ two-run fifth, Windle allowed one baserunner.
However, Bulldog starter Lane Tubb kept the hosts off the scoreboard through three innings. He retired the Warriors in order in the first, used a one-out double play to escape trouble in the second and stranded runners on second and third base in the third.
Westbrook took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth by way of Bryant’s RBI double and Wright’s RBI triple.
The Bulldogs drew even in the fifth on respective RBI singles from Tubb and Kiah Lake, but that was as close as the visitors would get, as the Warriors put the game away with a seven-run sixth. Self went yard on the first pitch of the inning and later tripled home Gurley for a 9-2 advantage.
Windle then struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to send Addison packing.
Self went 3-for-4 with a home run, a ripple and a double; Grace went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored; and Bryant went 2-for-3 with a run scored.