Photo courtesy of Sand Mountain Reporter
By Ron Blaskovittz/Sand Mountain Reporter
For five and a half innings last Monday (Apr. 26), the Sardis offense could not get anything going against visiting West Point in the deciding third game of a Class 5A first round state baseball playoffs series.
Sean Wright and Luke Weems played the heroes for the Lions (17-11-1). Wright delivered the biggest hit of the season and Weems turned in his best pitching performance at the best possible time, lifting Sardis to a 2-1 victory and sending the Lions through to the second round.
Sardis will travel to take on Hayden in the second round, who knocked off Leeds in a sweep on April 23.
Game 3 was scoreless through two innings before West Point took the lead on a two-out RBI single from Aubry Cleghorn in the top of the third, a run that nearly stood up for the guests.
Cleghorn and Weems went toe to toe on the mound, with Weems scattering seven hits and fanning 10 while conceding just the one run in the complete game win. Cleghorn held the Lions to four hits and fanning seven over his six innings of work.
The one run in the third looked like it might stand until the Lions finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Brody Samples (pictured above) and Justin Golden started the inning off with a pair of walks, the fourth time the Lions had multiple runners reach base in an inning. Following a strikeout, Carson Gillilan put a ball in play that resulted in an error, loading the bases with one out for Wright.
On a 1-1 count, Wright connected for a hard grounder up the middle, bringing around two runs and giving the Lions the 2-1 lead. That brought Weems back out to finish with he started. He
fanned the first two batters of the seventh before giving up a two-out single. Then on a 1-2 count, Weems induced a pop-up to second baseman Blaze Gerhart to end the game and keep the Lions’ season alive.
The teams spilt in the series’ opening two games on April 23. The host Lions took the opener by a 6-2 margin, while West Point forced a Game 3 with a 4-2 win in the nightcap despite collecting just three hits.
After West Point scored the game’s first run in the top of the third in Game 1, the Lions answered with two in the bottom of the inning, and never trailed again, taking the lead for good with a run in the bottom of the fourth, and adding a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, then one more in the sixth.
Five different players collected multiple hits for the Lions, led by Gillilan going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, both coming in the bottom of the third. Samples was 3-for-4 with an RBI that proved to be the game-winner in the fourth inning. Carson Grant and Gerhart added two hits and an RBI, while Weems chipped in with a pair of hits.
Gerhart was also strong on the mound in the opener, scattering six hits and one walking while fanning four in six innings.
In the nightcap, the Lions outhit West Point 8-3, but after scoring the first run in the top of the first, the Warriors put up the picket fence with single runs in the second, third, and fourth innings to take the lead for good, then added another in the bottom of the sixth. The visitors were aided by four Sardis errors.
The Lions came close to extending the game to extra innings with a seventh inning rally attempt.
Grant singled home a run to make it 4-2 with two outs, putting the tying run at first and the winning run at the plate, but a flyball to left ended the threat and the game, forcing a Game 3.
Grant had both RBIs in the loss, while Samples and Golden combined to fan nine batters. Samples gave up just one hit over his 4.2 innings of work.