Pats get 30th victory of the season with 16-1 win

Published 10:00 pm Monday, April 18, 2011

It was last year’s Pike Liberal Arts baseball team that set a new school record for wins in a season.

A year later, the current Patriots team is looking to rewrite that history.

With Monday’s 16-1 road victory against Fort Dale, PLAS improved to 30-4 overall and 12-1 in region play.

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This is the first time in the program’s history that it has had back-to-back 30-win teams.

And even though head coach Butch Austin said at the beginning of the season he thought this year’s team was going to be good, he admitted he didn’t know if they would be this good.

“I didn’t really know what we had,” he said Monday night. “I knew we were going to be pretty good.

“I thought we would have a chance to be as good as we were last year. But I don’t think we I really thought that we would be where we are at today. I knew we had some good pitching and hitting, but some young players had to come through for us and Tatum Barnes, Robert Benton and Josh Starling have all come through for us, and that has really helped and been the difference.”

Several of those players helped the Patriots secure the victory against Fort Dale Monday night, as Barnes, Benton and Evan Strother all finished 2-for-4.

On the mound for PLAS was Lawson Stewart, who pitched four innings, giving up the lone run and striking out three, while giving up four hits.

“Lawson, pitched pretty good, but I think he is tired. He has pitched a lot of tinning the last couple of weeks but has done everything we have asked of him,” Austin said.

At the plate, the junior had a big game as well, going 3-for-4, with five RBIs, a triple and a two-run homer. Stewart was just one double shy of hitting for the cycle.

Nick McLaughlin and Blake Floyd also had solid days at the plate, as McLaughlin added three RBIs thanks to this 12th home run of the season and Floyd finished 2-for-3, with a double and two RBIs.

“We hit the ball again and we hit it hard,” the head coach said. “Everybody hit it. When you hit the ball hard, things are going to happen.”