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Pike pounds FD

The cold weather did not stifle the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots’ bats Tuesday night in a 12-1 destruction of the Fort Dale Eagles.

The No. 3 Patriots (12-2, 7-1 AISA Class 3A, Region 1) launched three home runs, including a grand slam, on the No. 6 Eagles en route to an easy region victory.

“We hit the ball well tonight,” PLAS head coach Butch Austin said. “I thought we started out slow, but once we got to that second time around the lineup we started hitting the ball hard and well.”

Fort Dale took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Pike charged back in the top of the third and went up 6-1.

Trey Walters led off the inning with a solo home run to tie the score at 1-1. Blake Thomas, Ross Hixon and Bradley Floyd all reached base to load them for Justin McLaughlin. He was hit by a pitch to score Thomas and give the Patriots a 2-1 lead. Alex Adams followed with a bases-clearing grand slam to put the Patriots up 6-1 at the end of the third inning.

The Patriots added another three runs in the fourth inning. Corey Goodson walked to open the inning and Walters doubled. Thomas laced a single to score Goodson and Walters.

Hixon singled and Floyd put down a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third. Will Starling hit a sacrifice fly to score Floyd and put the Patriots up 9-1.

In the fifth inning Pike tacked on three runs for a 12-1 lead. Logan Stewart and Walters reached base and Thomas blasted a three-run home run.

“We had a few home runs and I thought we hit a lot of line drives in the gaps,” Austin said.

Thomas finished the game 3-for-3 with three runs scored and five RBIs. Hixon was 3-for-4 with one run scored. Walters was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.

Justin McLaughlin picked up the win on the hill, allowing one run on three hits, striking out six batters and walking two. Stewart and Starling also saw action on the mound.

“Justin pitched a lot better this time around and we got the win,” Austin said.

Up next for the Patriots is a region game on the road against Glenwood Friday. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.