“They had been intentionally walking him all weekend, and then they didn’t this time, but we were thankful for the gift,” Spalding head coach Mickey Moody said of Westside’s decision to pitch to his son, Casey, with runners on first and second. “I don’t know if they didn’t see it or didn’t do it because there were no outs.”
No one was out because Michael Martin led the top of the sixth off by lacing a stand-up double into the right-center field gap before Parker Powell laid down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt down the third base side. It ended up going for a bunt single.
“They did a nice job on the bunt,” said Westside-Augusta head coach Garald Barnes, who has led the Patriots to state championships in 1987 and 1988 in addition to the finals on three other occasions including once against Griffin High in 1980.
A wild pitch then left runners at first and second with Moody — who hit a home run in the first inning of Game 1 — at the plate and no one out.
Moody delivered, hitting a seeing-eye single up the middle just passed the outstretched arms of the shortstop to drive in Martin and Powell for a 3-2 lead. Moody, who advanced to second on the throw home, then reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Robert Green before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Matt Hayes.
That was the offensive highlight of the game on a day where SHS (21-7) was hoping to get out to a quicker start against Westside-Augusta (18-11).
“With them being the visiting team and us playing at home our game plan was to jump on them early,” said coach Moody. “But the guy them throw pitched well, and our huys couldn’t pick up his rhythm.”
Westside starter, Henry Rowland, caught Games 1 and 2 for the Patriots on Friday.
“Last night the coaching staff talked to him and he knew our pitching situation,” explained Barnes, of a player who was originally slated to pitch but who was too good not to have behind the plate full-time during a season where he pitched only two games prior to Saturday. “And he said he wanted the ball, and we said, OK.’”
He pitched valiantly, lasting two batters into the seventh before he was lifted with no outs.
Rowland left the game allowing four runs — all earned — on seven hits while walking one and striking out five in six innings of service.
Just as impressive was the outing Spalding High starter Cody Douglas put up. The lefty pitched into the fifth, allowing two runs — both unearned — on four hits and three walks while striking out one for a no-decision.
“What I’m the most proud of is Cody threw four strong innings,” said coach Moody. “And then Powell Krepps came in and showed a lot of heart after pitching seven complete yesterday.”
“We asked him how he felt and he said, ‘Give me the ball,’” coach Moody added. “He came out and threw three strong innings.”
Krepps ended the game tossing three scoreless inning while allowing two hits, walking two and striking out tow for the win — his second of the series.
“We played great defense behind them when we had to,” Moody said of his defense which turned double plays in the third fifth and seventh innings in addition to getting a diving shoe-string catach from Martin in the seventh with a runner on for the third out.
Spalding broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth when Hayes drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a double by Krepps and scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Smith. Westside then matched and one-upped Spalding in the bottom half of the inning when Chandler Silas reached on an infield single, advanced to third when Conner Doyle reached on a two-base error and scored on a bloop single by Mason Dodd with the infield in before Doyle scored on a double play.
That set the table for Spalding’s three-run sixth.
Spalding now advances to a second-round state playoff series Wednesday at home against Carrollton (17-11) which swept Riverwood on Friday 10-2 in Game 1 and 4-3 in 9 inning in Game 2. Start times have not yet been announced.