FAIRHOPE, Ala. -- Fairhope hit five home runs as the Pirates overpowered the Central Red Devils 11-1 and 11-4 to sweep the AHSAA Class 6A semifinal series on Friday.
Fairhope used three home runs to beat Central 11-1 in the opener, which was shortened to 4 1/2 innings due to the mercy rule.
Jerrod Hathcock and Chase Domino hit two-run homers, then Justin Hathcock added a three-run shot.
The 11 runs scored by the Pirates was only one less than the Red Devils had given up in seven previous games during the first three rounds of the state tournament.
Justin Brown took the loss, giving up seven runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk in 2 2-3 innings. He had two strikeouts. Reliever Colten Gatti gave up four runs on seven hits in 1 1-3.
Toby Thomas earned the win. He gave up just one run on two hits and two walks. He had 11 strikeouts.
Central didn't get its first hit until designated hitter Cole Jackson singled to left field with two outs in the fourth.
Pinch-hitter Jamal Howard kept the Red Devils from being shutout with a one-out homer in the fifth.
The Pirates picked up where they left off in the first inning of Game 2 as Jerrod Hathcock hit a three-run homer off starter Matt Evenson.
They strung together four hits to score two more in the second for a 5-0 lead.
Domino hit a solo homer in the fourth as Fairhope expanded the lead to 7-0. Fairhope scored three more in the top of the fifth and threatened to end Game 2 early.
But Central scored two in the bottom of the fifth as Cody Hughes and Evenson drove in runs.
Fairhope scored once in the top of the seventh. Central scored twice in the bottom of the seventh on Hank Baker's single.
Central would have been making its first trip to the finals since 1996. They also went in 1994. The Red Devils' last two trips to the semifinals resulted in losses to Prattville (2004) and Baker (2003).
Fairhope will play the winner of Spain Park vs. Oxford semifinal being played at Spain Park. Spain Park won Game 1 3-2.
Game 1 of final series would be at 8 p.m. at Paterson Field in Montgomery. Game 2 would be at 5 p.m. on May 19. Game 3, if necessary, would follow.
Friday at Fairhope
Central 000 01--1 2 2
Fairhope 025 4x--11 11 0
WP--Toby Thomas (NA). LP--Jordan Brown (NA). Leading hitters-- Central Jamal Howard 1-1, HR; Cole Jackson 1-2. Fairhope--Toby Thomas 1-3, RBI; Chase Domino 2-3, HR, 2RBI; Jerrod Hathcock 2-2, HR, 3RBI; Justin Hathcock 1-2, HR, 3RBI; Brock Gilheart 2-3, RBI; Beecher Faust 1-3, 2B, RBI; Taylor Gradle 1-1, R; Corey Childress R.
Fairhope 320 230 1--11 17 0
Central 000 020 2--4 9 3
WP--Ethan Hunt (NA). LP--Matt Evenson (NA). Leading hitters--Fairhope Jerrod Hathcock 3-3, HR, 4RBI; Chase Domino 2-3, HR. Central Cody Hughes 1-4, RBI; Matt Evenson 1-2, 2B, RBI; Paul Waldrop 2-4, R; Jordan Brown 0-3, R; Hank Baker 2-2, 2RBI; Jamal Howard 1-4; Blake Johnson 2-4, R; Adam Jones 0-2, R.
Records--Central 31-16.; Fairhope 37-6. Next: Central season over. Fairhope Friday vs. Spain Park/Oxford in state finals.