Westbrook sweeps Lauderdale County, heads to 3A state finals


Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Bo Kilgo rounds third base on the way to scoring a run during the Warriors’ 6-4 victory over Lauderdale County in the Class 3A state baseball semifinals on Tuesday, May 7 in Rogersville. (Courtesy of Grant Campbell)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

The Westbrook Christian baseball team used a familiar formula against Lauderdale County in the Class 3A state semifinals – lights-out pitching.
In 14 combined innings, starters Dylan Rainey and Braden Kay allowed six hits, no earned runs and two walks with 26 strikeouts to propel the Warriors to a 6-4, 3-0 sweep on Tuesday, May 7 in Rogersville.
Westbrook will make its first appearance in the state championship series since 2021, when the Warriors ended up winning the Class 2A title.
“Both of those guys pitched really well from start to finish,” said Westbrook head coach Jerry Windle. “They can power stuff past [batters] and can locate really well, so they’re tough to go up against.”
Westbrook (24-11) will face Thomasville (30-4) in a best-of-three series starting Monday, May 13 at 1 p.m. at Jacksonville State University. Games 2 will be played on Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m. at JSU, with an if-necessary game 3 to follow.
With the exception of the bottom of the third innings in game 1, during which Lauderdale County scored four unearned runs and before a two-hour weather delay halted the game, Rainey put the kibosh on the Tiger lineup. He retired the side in order in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings to give the Warriors an opportunity to climb out of a 4-0 hole. Over the final four innings, Rainey allowed only two baserunners, neither of whom advanced past second.
“Dylan had to battle through some adversity with the rain delay, and we kind of let him down with a few errors, but he bounced right back and competed his tail off and finished the game,” said Windle.
Windle noted that the attitude in the Westbrook dugout remained positive following the Tigers’ big inning.
“We’ve been in situations like that before, and our guys just kept calm and continued to battle,” he said.
Westbrook started its comeback in the top of the fifth, when Cameron Carden’s two-out single plated Bo Kilgo.
“We had several good at-bats that inning, and we were starting to figure out their lefty pitcher (Skylar Tucker),” said Windle.
After Rainey struck out the side in the bottom of the inning, Brodie Johnson, Jacob Maples and Rainey led off the top of the sixth with consecutive singles to load the bases. Johnson scored off an error, and with two outs, Wil Chadwick lined a base hit to centerfield to bring the Warriors within 5-4.
“Will’s hit was a big deal, not only for the score but for the momentum,” said Windle. “It was a pretty electric atmosphere, and it kind of let the air out of the balloon on the [Lauderdale County] side. [Tucker] has been really good this year, and he might not have been beaten all season.”
Westbrook catcher Luke Thompson threw out a Tiger runner at second base to end the bottom of the sixth, and with two outs in the top of the seventh, Maples tripled and scored on Rainey’s single to give Westbrook a 6-4 lead. Rainey allowed a one-out base hit in the bottom of the inning before closing out the win with a lineout and a strikeout.
Rainey and Maples went 2-for-3 and 2-for-4 at the plate, respectively, while Chadwick had a hit and three RBI.
Kay was just as stingy in the second game, giving up a pair of hits and one walk while fanning 13. Respective RBI base hits by Noah Wright and Johnson in the bottom of the second and a run-scoring single from Maples in the fourth provided Kay with a three-run cushion. He limited Lauderdale County to five baserunners, only one of whom advanced past first base.
“Braden had a rough outing against Fayette County last week, and tonight he was super-competitive and located all of his pitches really well,” said Windle. “When things got tight a time or two, he pitched right through it. He didn’t have much traffic on the bases at all.”
Windle anticipates a tough series against Thomasville, which swept Providence Christian in the semifinal round.
“Their record is great, and they’ve beaten some really good teams this year,’ he said. “They’ve got three guys who are good, quality high school pitchers, and they’re extremely confident and very well-coached. They do all the fundamentals well and have a long tradition of winning. We’ve got to match that by competing in every pitch and every at-bat and give ourselves a chance.”

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