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Fighting Irish rally to force Game 3

KING'S RIDGE 4-4, AQUINAS 2-9

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The kelly-green clad Aquinas fans began getting loud as their team stepped to the plate in the fifth inning.

With just three innings left to save their season, the Irish rallied at the plate to force at least one more game.

"We were all scared for our season," sophomore shortstop Grey Klosinski said. "When the fans started getting up, that gave us a spark."

Klosinski drove in five runs in consecutive innings to help spark a 9-4 win over King's Ridge Christian in the first round of the Class A playoffs.

The Irish, who dropped the opening game, 4-2, came back for nine runs in the fifth and sixth innings of Game 2.

Now, Aquinas (24-4) will play host to the decisive Game 3 at noon today.

"We love Game 3," Klosinski said. "It's going to be whoever wants it tomorrow. We're going to go out there and fight as hard as we can."

Aquinas managed to split Friday's doubleheader, despite its Nos. 3 and 4 batters struggling at the plate. Brendan Douglas went 0 for 7, while cleanup hitter Sam Few had two hits, a pair of doubles, in seven at-bats.

"I think they got it out of their system," said Irish starting pitcher Rhett Mills, who went the distance for the Game 2 win. "I don't think they've had a bad game all season."

"Hats off to their guys for pitching them well," Irish coach Mike Laney said. "Our best two batters really didn't hit and we still walked away with one win."

The entire Irish offense struggled deep into the second game, until the bottom of the order started a rally behind a raucous crowd. The first three batters loaded the bases. Then, Klosinski tomahawked an eye-high fastball to tie the game at 2-all.

With the game knotted at 4 in the sixth, the bottom of the order again ignited a rally. Palmer Douglas got hit by a pitch to open the inning. Then after a Denis Douglas single, Colin Oliver took a pitch off the face, his broken nose loading the bases.

Tyler Williamson ripped the go-ahead RBI single to center. Then, Klosinski blasted a shot just inside the third-base line, clearing the bases. At 8-4, the Irish finally could breathe.

In the first game, King's Ridge (16-9) rallied late. The Tigers tied the game with a run in the top of the sixth before doing their biggest damage an inning later.

Jason McCoy led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Pinch hitter Jordan Harris followed with a double, plating McCoy. Two batters later, Grayson Byrd hit an RBI single to right. The Tigers led 4-2, and Aquinas had no answer in the bottom of the inning.

King's Ridge starter Patrick McClure kept the first three Irish hitters in the order in check, limiting them to an 0 for 9 effort from the plate. Aquinas managed just six hits, with Dane Anderson leading the way with a 3-for-3 effort.


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