With spring football practice in full swing, quarterback Jalen Lampkin is playing hooky. And for a good reason.
The Westside junior collected four hits, including the key two-run single in the first game, to help the Patriots sweep past Lamar County in the second round of the Class AA playoffs on Wednesday.
Westside won 2-1 and 9-3 and will play host to Bremen or Lovett on Tuesday.
The Patriots (22-7), after losing in the first round last year, are making their deepest run since 2008.
“This is the first time I’ve been to the third round of anything,” Lampkin said. “We knew we just had to hit the ball to keep going.”
“A lot of these guys had to play last year, and I think experience has helped us,” Westside coach Gerald Barnes said. “They come every day and do what we ask them to do.”
Patriots starter David Hagelston allowed a run in the first inning, scattering eight hits in the first game. He pitched around trouble in the final inning, stranding a pair of runners.
The Patriots struggled to find offense against Trojans southpaw Morgan Ford, who held Westside in check until allowing three hits in the fifth inning.
Hagelston started the Westside rally with a leadoff single. Tony Jones followed with another single. Austin Childers advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt.
With two outs, Lampkin had a two-run single to give Westside a 2-1 lead, and pitching and defense took it from there.
In the second game, Lampkin led off with a double as Westside scored two runs in the first. Mason Dodd added two more doubles, while Chandler Silas, Price Dodd and Childers each added a double as the Patriots collected 12 hits.
Childers didn’t allow a run the first five innings and went the distance for the win.