HAMILTON, Ga. -- By the time the newly installed lights at the Harris County baseball field came on, the Tigers had built a commanding lead and were on their way to turning the lights out on Mt. Zion-Jonesboro.
Harris County used a pitching gem from Payne Kosobucki in Game 1 en route to a 10-0 victory in five innings. Then the Tigers put on an offensive explosion in the nightcap, taking a 25-7 victory to sweep the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAA state playoffs.
On an otherwise perfect evening for baseball, very little went wrong for the Tigers (22-5), who will play host to either East Paulding or Redan in the second round next week.
In the two games, Harris County erupted for 35 runs on 25 hits with 11 of them going for extras bases.
"It's going to get tougher," Harris County coach Steve Westmoreland. "We've got to play better. But as long as we're still in the playoffs, it's nice."
Kosobucki was the story in Game 1. He faced the minimum 15 batters, fanning the first six he faced. The only blemish on what potentially could have been a perfect game for him came during the third inning. The senior surrendered a lead-off walk to Sam Glickman, who promptly got tangled in a rundown between first and second-base.
Kosobucki then allowed his only hit -- a single to EJ Parks. Moments later, Harris catcher Walker Borneman threw out Glickman attempting to steal second, closing the door on any threat. The right-hander then retired the next seven batters he faced. He finished with 10 strikeouts.
"Payne pitched extremely well in Game 1, doing what he does well," Westmoreland said. "That was a good way for us to start the playoffs."
Harris County wasn't nearly as sharp in Game 2. They staked themselves to an early 8-0 lead in the first inning, then padded their lead to 13-1 in the top half of the third before Mt. Zion scored three runs to trim the deficit when the Tigers got sloppy.
But the Tigers closed the game strong, sending 14 batters in the sixth and scoring nine runs. The inning was highlighted by Justin Strickland's RBI single, triples from Andrew Fears and Zach Thomason and a grand slam from Kenneth Shavers.
"We had a couple of good innings in Game 2 where we took advantage of some extra bats," Westmoreland said. "We got a chance to play 21 guys. You have to be happy when you get a chance to do that."
Friday at Harris County
Mt. Zion 000 00--0 1 2
Harris Co. 402 22--10 8 0
WP - Payne Kosobucki. LP - Jwanni Austin. Leading hitters - Mt. Zion, EJ Parks 1-1. Harris County, Tyler Milner 2-2, 2B, RBI; Kosobucki 2-3, 2B, RBI; Andrew Fears 1-2, HR, 3 RBIs; Zach Rovig 1-2, 2B, RBI; Ty Edwards 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs.
Harris Co. 805 039--25 17 2
Mt. Zion 103 300--7 7 7
WP - Cole Johnson. LP - Kenneth Wiggins. Leading hitters - Harris County, Cody Sheedy 4-5, HR, 2 RBIs; Justin Strickland 3-4, 2 RBIs; Fears 3-3, 2 (3B), 2B, 3 RBIs; Kenneth Shavers 2-5, HR (grand slam), 6 RBIs; Zach Thomason 1-3, 3B. Records: Mt. Zion 15-11, Harris County 22-5. Next Game: East Paulding/Redan winner at Harris County, TBA