Westbrook romps over Randolph County in 2A semifinal series
Fri. May 10, 2013 at 11:21 p.m. | By J.J. Hicks Staff Writer
Westbrook Christian players celebrate Friday night after winning Game 2 against Randolph County in Rainbow City. The Warriors swept the Tigers and to advance to the Class 2A state baseball final series in Montgomery. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times)
RAINBOW CITY — Destination: Montgomery.
Class 2A, No. 6 Westbrook Christian romped past No. 2 Randolph County 19-0 in five innings and 15-1 in six innings in a state high school baseball playoff semifinal series Friday to clinch the school’s first state finals appearance since 1999.
The Warriors (25-13) are seeking their first state championship. Standing between them and that goal is No. 4 G.W. Long, which swept Mobile Christian 4-3 and 5-0 Friday.
Matthew Reaves proved the star of the day for the Warriors. The senior went 7 for 8 with a pair of three-run homers and 11 RBI in leading Westbrook to an unexpected easy series sweep.
“I’m a doubles and singles kind of guy, but this was my last series at home and I wanted to do something kind of big,” Reaves said. “I wasn’t pressing, God just gave me a great ability and He showed Himself to me by doing that.”
“Hopefully he (Reaves) is peaking at the right time,” Westbrook coach Matt Kennedy said.
Surrounded by celebrating fans, players and families, an emotional Kennedy couldn’t have been happier.
“We’ve been trying to do this for a long time,” Kennedy said, shortly before getting a celebratory shaving cream pie to the face. “I’m really proud of the guys.
“They’ve bought in to what we’re trying to do. This year is a different group. We’re built on pitching and defense. I don’t know where the offensive explosion came from. We kind of knew what they were going to be throwing. We took good approaches at the plate all day long.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning of Game 1 and never looked back.
One key for Westbrook, Reaves said, was the mindset the team took into the series.
“Our main focus was to go to Montgomery and try to win a championship, and we’re doing it,” he said. “In the past, we would be up 4-2, get a runner on (on defense) and get shaky. But we just have a peace over us. We know we can count on each other.”
Jake Kilgo, who went all six innings in getting the Game 2 victory, echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“I know, no matter what, I’m always comfortable throwing to batters when I’ve got all these defenders behind me,” Kilgo said.
Westbrook got one run in the second, six in the third and 8 in the fourth inning of Game 1.
Mikhail Cazenave took the win. He threw all five innings with four strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed.
Kilgo continued the strong pitching for the Warriors, tossing six innings with three stikeouts and one walk while allowing six hits.
“I struggled for the first four or five innings, but we made a bunch of key defensive plays,” Kilgo said. “We made the routine plays and then made some we weren’t supposed to make. It’s a lot easier knowing I’ve got seven seniors behind me on defense.
“It’s really big for me because I’m on the team that finally made it over that fourth-round hump. It’s an overwhelming joy because so many teams play, but only one team will bring it home and hopefully it’s gonna be the Westbrook Warriors.”
The Warriors fell in the state semifinals to Mars Hill Bible last season.
Westbrook scored two runs in the first inning, three in the third, four in the fifth and six in the sixth in Game 2.
The lone Randolph County (27-8) run came on an RBI groundout by Levi Phillips in the sixth inning.
In Game 1, the Warriors collected 17 hits. They knocked 12 hits in the nightcap.
Kilgo, Jordan McCartney and Alex Perkins each totaled four hits for the day.
“It means a ton (to reach Montgomery),” Reaves said. “We wanted this for the people around us, our families. There’s something different about this team.
“We came together. We’ll sacrifice for each other. It means the world to be going to Montgomery and knowing we have all these people supporting us.”
The series begins at 4 p.m. at Patterson Field in Montgomery on Thursday.