Patriots rout Escambia Academy, advance to AISA semi-finalsPublished 10:35pm Thursday, April 25, 2013
Pike Liberal Arts head coach Butch Austin has seen it all in over 40 years in the game of baseball, but even he couldn’t help but smile Thursday night.
The Patriots cruised past Escambia Academy in a double header in the second round of the Alabama Independent School Association baseball playoffs.
Pike won 11-1 in the first game, and 16-1 in the nightcap.
Austin, a veteran of many playoff runs, said that Patriots went back to “old timey practices” in preparation for their 2013 playoff debut.
“We went back in time,” said Austin with a grin. “We hit and we ran, we fielded. We did it all. I told them on Tuesday to get ready for old timey practices, but it looks like paid off for us.”
The Pats went to the long ball to get a lot of runs in a hurry in both games.
Drew Starling went yard in game one, and Taytom Barnes, Robert Benton and Chandler Avant each hit bombs in game two.
Outside of the offensive surge, Austin was “tickled pink” with the play of pitchers Reid Dickey and Tullie Everett.
“Reid is going to throw well almost every times out,” said Austin. He had to get settled down, and then came out and threw a good game. I am really proud of Tullie. He has come back great from that arm surgery.”
With the wins, Pike advances to the semi-finals of the AISA State Tournament.
The Patriots will face the winner of the Tuscaloosa Academy and Gleenwood.
“No one expected us to be here,” said Austin. “There is only one thing left to do now, win the whole thing.”
Game One: Pike Liberal Arts 11, Escambia Academy 1
Pitcher Reid Dickey shutdown the Cougars for the better part of the day, en route to the Pats 11-1 victory in game one. Dickey went all six innings on the hill for Pike and gave up just one run on three hits and struck out four batters.
The Patriots used a big second inning to break the close game open. Pike Liberal Arts sent 12 men to the plate in the home half of the second inning, and knocked out five hits against Escambia pitcher Michael Thompson. Catcher Drew Starling delivered the biggest shot of the inning on a massive three-run homer the clanked off the top of the football press box beyond the left-field wall “Blue Monster.”
After giving up the first run of the day in the top of the fifth, Pike ended the game early when Chandler Avant scored on a wild pitch.
Robert Benton also has a big day at the plate going 2-2 with a double and two RBI.
Game Two: Pike Liberal Arts 16, Escambia Academy 1: The Patriots took a 4-1 lead to the top of the sixth inning, but exploded for 12 runs in the frame to put the nightcap away early.
In total, Pike sent 17 batters to the plate in the inning, and knocked out seven hits.
Of the seven hits, five went for extra bases including a pair of three-run homers from Avant and Benton.
Everett got the win on the mound for the Patriots going five innings, scattering three hits and striking out three Cougars.