The St. Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws (24-7) swept the Northeast Lauderdale Trojans in a best-of-three series in the second round of the Class 4A state baseball playoffs with steady pitching and timely hits.
The combination of the two provided wins of 11-4 at home on Friday and a 5-3 come from behind win on the road on Saturday.
In Friday's game, Dawson Strong got the win on the mound for SSC scattering six hits, allowing two earned runs and fanning five batters.
The Rocks plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning as they batted around the order to start the game.
In the bottom of the fourth with two outs, Tristan Bush advanced after being hit by a pitch and Taylor Lafontaine doubled. Trace Rhodes smacked a two-run single that plated Bush and Lafontaine to make the score 5-0 heading into the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Rocks added three more runs to push the score to 8-0; however, in the top of the sixth the Trojans broke the shutout up adding four runs.
But, in the bottom of the sixth inning, SSC erased all doubt playing three more runs. Rhodes and Colin Fredrickson both walked before Braxton Bean hit a two-run double. Strong advanced on a single to rightfield just before Cole Fletcher drove in Bean on a single to make up the final score 11-4.
SSC head coach Mark Logan commented, "Dawson Strong had a few strong innings for us. Brad Dossett had not pitched in more than a week so he needed to get some work and did a solid job. Cole Fletcher finished things off on the mound. We were consistent at the plate getting contact on the ball by several players. We cannot rely on one area of the order. We have had different guys step up throughout the season."
At the plate, Lafontaine had a single and a double with an RBI while Bean had a double and three RBIs. O'Bannon had two singles followed by Fredickson with an RBI single and Rhodes with a two RBI single.
On Saturday, SSC traveled to Northeast Lauderdale and came from behind 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning to score four runs and steal the win.
Taylor LaFontaine got a one-out hit. Trace Rhodes and Colin Frederickson were both hit by pitch that allowed Braxton Bean to get a two-RBI base hit to tie it at 3-3. The Rocks scored another run on an overthrow and Dawson Strong had an RBI base hit.
Peyton Sandrock got the win on the mound going six innings allowing four hits, three earned runs and two strikeouts. Fletcher recorded the save.
At the plate, the Rocks were led by Strong with three hits followed by Corban O'Bannon had two hits. Lafontaine, Bean and Fletcher all added a hit.
Logan added, "Once again we had guys come through in the seventh inning when we needed them to. Peyton Sandrock threw six solid innings to keep us in the game and Cole Fletcher picked up the save pitching a scoreless seventh inning.
To beat Sumrall, we will have to play our best baseball of the season. They are a solid team that does every facet of the game well. They are well coached and have a bunch of talented players. We'll have to pitch well, get timely hits to score runs and play as clean as we possibly can defensively."
Sumrall (28-4) is the Division 7-4A champion and is coming off a sweep of Northeast Jones 12-0 and 6-3.
Sumrall and SSC share several common opponents. Sumrall swept Purvis in their division series while SSC needed three games to defeat the Tornadoes in first round action. The Rocks swept Pass Christian during their divisional series and Sumrall needed three games to dispatch the Pirates in first round action.
Sumrall beat Oak Forest Academy 12-0 and SSC beat them twice 16-1 and 5-0. Sumrall beat Presbyterian Christian Academy 10-0 and SSC topped them 6-1. Sumrall beat Oak Grove 10-0 and SSC lost 10-6. And, Sumrall beat Gulfport 4-1 and SSC topped the Admirals 4-2.
Game one is set for Thursday at 6pm at SSC. The Rocks will travel to Sumrall on Friday for Game Two and return to SSC on Saturday for Game Three, if necessary. See you at the game!