Cougars sweep again, advance in AISA 1A state playoffs

Published 4:43 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Escambia Academy kept the brooms out, sweeping Heritage Christian 2-0 (13-2, 11-6) in the AISA Class 1A Quarterfinal today at the Hoover Met.

With the sweep, the Cougars advance to the semifinals, or Final Four, where they’ll face the Lowndes Academy next Wed., May 1, 2024 in Lowndes.

EA assistant coach Spencer Overton said the boys played well, and the wins were a big accomplishment.

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“Our pitching looked really well,” Overton said. “We hit the ball fairly well. We played really good defense, and we didn’t have but one or two errors in both games. I’m just proud of the kids. They’ve been played really good baseball here lately.”

Overton added the semifinal berth is the deepest EA’s baseball program has been in the playoffs in a number of years.

“We’re working to play and get better,” he said.

Overton has been taking over the head-coaching duties for Chris Kirk for several weeks. Kirk suffered a minor heart attack on April 23, and the head coach had been out of action for several weeks before hand dealing with COVID and the flu. Kirk’s at home and resting.

Overton said he’s proud of the boys as they’re working hard and continuing to get better.

“I truly believe if we play our brand of baseball, we’ve got a shot to make it past Lowndes and to the championship game,” he said. “I can’t stress how hard we have worked to get better.”

Overton added that today’s doubleheader was pretty hot given it was played on a turf surface.

“Once we got through the first game, the second game we played a lot better,” Overton said. “We looked like ourselves. We looked real good, and I believe we’re hitting our stride. It could’n’t have come at a better time.”

EA improves to 16-9 on the season.

Escambia Academy 13, Heritage Christian 2

The Cougars scored five runs in the second inning, added four in the fourth and three in the sixth.

Escambia Academy’s Luke Bell went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run to lead the Cougars. Traegan James, Cameron Bryan, Lane Milstead, Griffin Davison, Charlie Sasser and Isaac Radcliff had one hit each.

Sasser earned the win on the mound, striking out four and allowing two earned runs on two hits in 4.1 innings. Carson Wilson came in in relief, striking out 1 in 0.2 innings.

Escambia Academy 11, Heritage Christian 6

Bell went 3-for-4 with a double and two singles to lead the Cougars. He added two RBIs in the effort.

The Cougars trailed 2-1 after the first inning, but shot out ahead and never gave up the lead in the second, scoring four runs. EA aded one run each in the third and fourth innings, one run in the sixth and three in the seventh.

James went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs; Bryan went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run; and Sasser went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Milstead struck out six and allowed two earned runs on two hits in 4.2 innings to earn the win on the mound. Radcliff came in in relief, striking out two and allowed two earned runs on two hits in 2.1 innings.

James, Bryan, Bell and Milstead scored one run each in the second inning.