Thursday, April 24, 2008
Playoffs next for Patriots
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy, district championship in hand, starts its state title quest next week.
The Patriots wrapped up district play last week with sweeps of Lee (Clarksdale) and Lee (Marianna, Ark.). They finish conference competition at 14-1 and enter the post-season at 18-4 overall.
“I feel good about this team,” said head coach Jimmy Hicks, who has MA in the state baseball playoffs for the second straight season. “We believe we can beat anybody, and we have the players to do it. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
Marshall is receiving a first-round bye. They will meet the Lee (Clarksdale) versus Winston winner in a best-of-three quarter-final series next week. Winston eliminated MA in last year’s quarterfinals after the Patriots swept Central Hinds in round one.
“I think the bye will be good for us, so we can rest and work on things that we need to do better,” Hicks said. “Plus, we can go scout the other teams as well.”
Patriots vs. Colts
Chris Gardner improved his mound mark to 6-0 in the conference April 14 as Marshall Academy took game one at Clarksdale 8-4.
The junior went the distance, striking out three and give up four hits.
“He did not have his best stuff,” Hicks said, “but he got the job done. He has really come on strong and been a big pitcher for us.”
MA also played good defense behind Gardner, making just two errors.
From the plate, Justin Gray connected for a double and a single, while Caleb Byrd had two singles. Hunter Bolden smacked a double. Getting one hit each were Tyler Childers, Tyler Sanders and Jake Omedeo.
Shane Campbell hurled all seven innings in the nightcap as the Patriots eased by the Colts 9-3. The senior upped his district mark to 5-0. He struck out seven and gave up eight hits.
Gray was again hot at the plate on a cool night. He had two doubles. Childers added a double and a single, and Nick Tate had a double. Joey Brock and Sanders also got in on the offensive production with a single each.
Patriots vs. Cougars
Marshall Academy had no trouble with visiting Lee (Marianna, Ark.) Tuesday of last week at home – winning 13-3 and 13-1.
Byrd and Tate were the heavy hitters. Byrd was one short of the cycle. He had a solo homer, a double and a single. Tate blasted a three-run homer and added two singles.
Others taking part in the hitting attack were Gray with a double and a single, Omedeo with two singles and Bolden, Sanders, Joey Brock and Gardner with a single each.
Will Patton earned the pitching win. He struck out four and gave up four hits in the five-inning contest.
Game two only went four innings as MA won by 12 runs.
Starter Jordan Brock got the pitching victory. Joey Brock and Harris Gholson threw in relief. They combined for five strikeouts.
Childers had a perfect, four-for-four game from the batter’s box. Getting two singles each were Byrd, Omedeo and Wesley Harris. Campbell connected for a double and Bolden had a single.
It’s the Patriots’ second straight district championship. They’ve lost one game in the district in two years.
“We’re excited about the playoffs,” Hicks said. “We want to bring that blue (championship) trophy back.”
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