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Irish hitters on fire

AQUINAS 11-23, CLINCH COUNTY 1-0

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When snow fell in February in Augusta, the Aquinas baseball team continued business as usual.

With their covered batting cage, the Irish have zero excuses to work on their hitting -- no matter the weather. Since the end of football season, players have been in their outdoor facility almost every day honing their skills.

"It was freezing cold that day," junior pitcher Sam Few said of the snow day. "But we didn't waste one day."

That extra work paid off Friday afternoon. Aquinas pounded out 38 hits in a pair of five-inning wins over Clinch County in the first round of the Class A playoffs.

After collecting 11-1 and 23-0 victories, the Irish advance to play play host to the Schley County-Savannah Christian winner at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

"Not to toot our own horn, but that was pretty impressive," Aquinas coach Mike Laney said of his team's offensive performance. "They've bought into what we're telling them. They've bought into being patient. They've bought into working counts."

Aquinas (20-7), the Region 4-A champion, scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning of the first game and never trailed the rest of the day. Every Irish starter recorded at least three hits in the doubleheader except for cleanup batter Brendan Douglas, who was 2 for 5 with two walks and also reached on an error.

Overlooked in the offensive onslaught were the two gems pitched by Aquinas starters Erin Hawk and Few. Hawk allowed three hits and struck out four in Game 1. Few surrendered two hits and struck out five in four innings of the second game.

"Hawk threw well like he always does," senior catcher Bowen Klosinski said. "Sam throws wild at times, but he gassed them up today."

Hawk got stellar defense behind him. The Irish led 5-1 in the top of the fourth when Clinch County threatened with runners at second and third with one out. Then, Dalton Bennett blasted a fastball. Third baseman Palmer Douglas knocked down the screamer, recovered and threw out Bennett. The runners held. Hawk then forced Jamie Harper to foul pop to first to end the inning.

Aquinas led by seven entering the bottom of the fifth. Douglas hit an RBI infield single to push the score to 9-1. Later, Grey Klosinski hit a game-ending, two-run single.

In Game 2, the Irish smacked 22 hits. Each of the last four hitters in the order -- Grey Klosinski, Mark Foushee, Palmer Douglas and Dennis Douglas -- combined to go 13 for 16.

Few and Seddrick Dixon each hit three-run blasts for the Irish.


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