Pike Liberal Arts did not have to use much to dominate Morgan Academy in the first round of the AISA baseball tournament Friday night.
Dominant Patriot pitching in game one along with a lot of help from the Senators’ defense allowed the Patriots to sweep Morgan in a best two out of three series.
The Patriots won the first game by a score of 10-0, and then took the second with the score 11-7.
Will Starling and Ross Hixon combined to throw a no-hitter in the Patriots’ game one win. “Will pitched well, Ross pitched well and we played good defense,” said Butch Austin, PLAS head coach.
The Patriots only needed five innings to beat the Senators in the first game.
A big second inning established PLAS momentum, and set the tone for the remainder of the night.
The Patriots scored four runs thanks to a sleuth of Senator errors and a struggling Morgan pitcher.
“A win is a win is a win,” said Austin.
Justin McLaughlin led things off in the second with single.
The Senators committed three errors in three plays, allowing McLaughlin to score, and then walked Corey Goodson with the bases loaded to bring in a Patriot run.
The Patriots scored another run on a balk, and then again on a fielder’s choice before they were retired.
The Patriots had an almost identical outing in the home half of the third.
Four more errors allowed PLAS to take three more runs, and push the score to 7-0 after three innings.
After working through four no-hit innings, Starling relinquished the mound to Ross Hixon.
Hixon picked up were Starling had left off, preserving the no hitter in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Hixon hit a walk-off double to score the Patriots’ third run of the inning and tenth of the game.
Coach Austin said it felt good to win the first game.
“If you win one, you advance to another,” said Austin.
“If you win two, you sure enough advance,” he added.
The Patriots used a similar game two to ensure their advancement into the playoffs.
Morgan gave PLAS 11 free passes and committed 12 errors to allow the Patriots the 11-7 victory.
The Patriots only amassed five hits in the victory, three of which were from Starling.
“Our hitting was way off tonight,” said Austin.
“I’m just glad to win,” he added.
Morgan Academy made the game interesting in the second inning when the Senators chased McLaughlin off the mound.
McLaughlin was charged with three runs in an inning where he walked one runner home and allowed another run when he hit a batter.
Bradley Floyd took over, sitting down the next two batters to get out of the jam.
The Patriots held a 4-3 lead after two innings.
The Senators returned the favor in the fifth when Morgan’s Conner Thorpe plunked Sam Carroll with the bases loaded to score Starling, and then Walters on the ensuing at bat to plate McLaughlin.
PLAS piled on three more runs when Hixon cleared the bases with a two-out double to make the score 9-3.
Now with an 11-3 lead in the seventh, Coach Austin put Logan Stewart on the mound.
The Senators made a late rally to score four runs before the Patriots retired the side to win the game.
“I’m just glad we won two in a row,” said Austin.
“I don’t know if we could go tomorrow,” he added.