“It was just one of those days where everything went perfectly right,” he said. “Everything from when you wake up to the school day, everything was just going right. BP (batting practice) before the game was perfect. Everyone was excited to play. Everyone was spanking the baseball. Everyone was making the plays. Everyone was ready to be out here and ready to play DAR. I just felt like it was a good day.”
And it was a good day for several Warriors, including senior designated hitter Colin Brewer.
Just two weeks removed from having eye surgery, Brewer went 2- for- 3 in game one, including a three-run homer to left in the first inning. He also went 2-for-3 in the second game with a pair of intentional walks.
“My vision is still not there yet, but I’m working on it,” Brewer said with a smile. “I’m having to hit with shades that I’m not too comfortable with, but it’s getting better day by day.”
Brewer said the Warriors were focused on getting off to a good start against the Patriots (14-12).
“Putting four runs on them (in the first inning of game one) like that puts their backs against the wall, and they’re fighting an uphill battle,” Brewer said. “When we get rolling, I don’t think we can stop. We’ve worked on a middle-way plate approach, really being smart, not chasing pitches and not getting behind in the count.”
The Warriors’ four-run first inning in game one definitely set the tone for the day, and it was more than enough run support for pitchers Noah Ledbetter and Christian Stinson. Ledbetter started and picked up the win. He tossed three innings of one-hit ball.
After the Warriors scored five more runs in the second to take a 9-0 lead, Stinson came in to relieve Ledbetter, and that was when the Patriot hitters began to find their groove.
They scored three runs in the top of the fourth and three more in the top of the fifth, but the Warriors still had the game in hand, leading 15-6.
“Noah was extraordinary in the first game. He did a lot of good things,” Fran Blanchard said. “When we switched and went to Christian, their bats came alive. It wasn’t that Christian was throwing bad. They just made the adjustment, and that’s what a good team does.”
The Warriors collected 20 hits in game one. In addition to Jaren Lockridge and Brewer, Ledbetter, Josh Decker, Chris Ray, Colin Edwards and Jy Lockridge each collected multiple hits for Warriors. It was Jy Lockridge’s RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth that ended the game. The hit scored Ray, who doubled to center to lead off the inning.
Colton Smith led the Patriots at the plate in game one, going 3-for-3 with a RBI. Austin Sanderson, Will Sanderson and Justin Stubblefield each had a pair of hits. Stubblefield suffered the loss.
In the second game, it was DAR that got out to the early lead by scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Warriors got one of those runs back in the top of the third, then sent 17 batters to the plate in the top of the fourth and scored 12 runs to take a 13-3 lead.
The Patriots didn’t lay their bats down, as they scratched across three runs in the bottom of the fourth to trim Cherokee County’s lead to 13-6, but the Warriors kept pounding away. They scored a run in the top of the fifth and finished the game off with six more runs in the top of the sixth for the final.
“That was a lot of runs in two games for us, but you never felt at ease,” Fran Blanchard said. “We’ve been streaky this year. We’ve been really, really hot, then we’d come back and lay an egg with a 2-1 game or something like that. The top (of the lineup) was extraordinary tonight and did a really good job. I was especially happy with Zae (Wright) in the nine hole.”
Brewer went 2-for-3 in game two with a pair of intentional walks. Josh Decker also added a pair of hits, including a tworun triple in the sixth. Gunnar Gable went 2-for2 as a pinch hitter. Cade Gossett doubled and walked. Caleb Ransum singled, walked and drove in three runs. Ledbetter had a two-run single and a walk. Wright singled and walked twice.
Decker picked up the win and Dalton Campbell suffered the loss for the Patriots.
Will Sanderson singled twice, walked twice and drove in a pair of runs. Austin Sanderson doubled and walked. Smith drew three walks. Landen Harbin finished 2-for-4 at the plate for the Patriots.
With the wins over DAR, Cherokee County will now prepare to host fifth- ranked Madison Academy (23-15).
“Playing at home is huge,” Brewer said. “We’ve got some massive momentum going. Our work ethic is incredible. We practice three or four hours every day, game-situational stuff. We’re looking forward to Madison Academy. It’s going to be a great series.”