King's Ridge Christian held off Brookstone rallies in both ends of a doubleheader at Illges Field on Friday. The Tigers took the opener 8-5 and won the nightcap 7-5 in the first round of the Class A private school playoffs.
"They swung the bats well today," Brookstone coach Vince Massey said. "They out-hit us in both games and their hitters seemed to find a hole or a gap every time they had runners in scoring position and that was a big difference."
Brookstone had a big opportunity in the first inning of Game 1, getting a leadoff walk by Matt Jones, followed by a single from Tim Kennedy and an RBI double from Drew Lingo to put runners at second and third with no outs.
King's Ridge starter Austin Higginbotham then settled in, fanning Collin Jarrell and coercing a lineout from Drew Webb and a ground ball from Max Williams to limit the Cougars to just one run.
"We had opportunities and just didn't get it done. We had a good season overall -- we started well, sort of flattened out in the middle, and then came on strong down the stretch. But the best team won today," Massey said.
The Tigers took the lead in the second and would not trail again in the game. Brandt Stallings led off with a double and moved to third on a Will Janofsky single. After Parker James got consecutive pop-ups to get two outs, the bottom of the King's Ridge order came through. Cullen Monette and Connor Burns -- the eighth and ninth hitters -- laced consecutive RBI singles to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
King's Ridge would add three more in the third on an RBI single by Stallings and a two-RBI double from Tarez Miller to take command at 5-1. A single unearned run in the fourth made it 6-1.
Brookstone cut into the margin with a pair of runs in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to Kennedy and a fielder's choice from Lingo to make it 6-3.
The Tigers got a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on RBI hits by Slade Osborne and Jackson Weldon. Then they had to hold off a Cougar rally in the bottom of the frame as Hunter Green singled home a run and Keith Pridgen drove in another with a sacrifice fly.
With two out, Brookstone had two runners aboard and Kennedy hit a potential game-tying shot to left that was caught at the wall for the final out.
The Cougars again took the early lead in Game 2, getting a single run in the first on Lingo's RBI double. King's Ridge responded again, however, scoring three runs in the second -- only one of which was earned -- and then four more in the fifth to build a comfortable margin. The big blow in the fourth was a one-out three-run homer from Stallings to right field.
Brookstone got single runs in the third and fifth and then started another rally in the seventh.
A one-out error and a single put Webb and Max Williams aboard. Webb scored on a throwing error after a Green flyout, and Williams came home on a Parker James single.
The tying run came to the plate, but a Moore curveball froze Pridgen at the plate for the final out.
Friday at Brookstone
King's Ridge 023 100 2--8 12 1
Brookstone 100 200 2--5 8 2
WP - Higginbotham. LP - James. Leading hitters - King's Ridge, Stallings 2-4, 2B, RBI, Miller 2-4, 2-2B, 2 RBI. Brookstone, Kennedy 2-4, RBI, Lingo 1-3, 2B, RBI, Pridgen 2-2, 2B, RBI
Brookstone 101 010 2--5 5 1
King's Ridge 030 040 x--7 8 3
WP - Burns. LP - Williams. Leading Hitters - Brookstone, 1-2, 2B, RBI, Williams 1-2, 2 RBI, James 1-4, RBI. King's Ridge, Stallings 2-3, HR, 3 RBI, Osborne 1-2, Miller 1-2, RBI, Byrd 2-4, 2 RBI. Record Brookstone 17-7. Next Game - Brookstone - season ends; King's Ridge Wednesday vs. TBA.