Patriots fall to Tuscaloosa in AISA semi-finals

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By Andrew Carroll, Tuscaloosa News

After winning the first game 7-5, the Tuscaloosa Academy baseball team got a two-hit shutout from Austin Menard and earned a return trip to Montgomery.

The Knights completed the sweep Wednesday with a 7-0 victory over Pike Liberal Arts in the AISA Class AAA semifinals. Tuscaloosa Academy (36-6) advances to the finals against the Lee-Scott Academy-Monroe Academy winner.

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Pike Liberal Arts, which beat Tuscaloosa Academy in three games to win the Class AAA title last year, finished at 27-7.

Menard (9-0) struck out seven and allowed only two walks. He didn’t allow a hit until Dustin Newman singled to lead off the sixth. John Stephen Grice had a two-out single, but Taytom Barnes grounded out to shortstop on a close play to end the inning.

Conner Vowell started for the Patriots and took the loss. He allowed one hit and two runs in 2 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

In the first game, Tuscaloosa Academy collected nine hits. Andrews and Robey Smalley had two hits each.

The Patriots got an RBI single from Chandler Avant in the second inning. Myles Loving hit a two-run homer in the third, and Barnes doubled in two runs in the fourth.

Lathan Johnson (7-1) pitched a complete game to get the win. He allowed nine hits and three walks and struck out eight.

Grice took the loss, pitching a third of an inning in relief of starter Reed Dickey. Grice allowed three hits and two runs, one earned, with a walk.