Originally created 04/17/99

Collins propels Westside



There are a lot of similarities between Tom Glavine and Westside pitcher Clay Collins. Glavine is left-handed, so is Collins.

Usually, Glavine struggles early in the game. So does Collins. But after the first inning, Glavine settles into his routine and becomes one of the most dominating pitchers in the game.

On the high school level, the same can be said for Collins. He has some pitching problems early, but when he settles down, he can dominate a high school baseball game.

Collins not only baffled Richmond Academy on the mound on Friday with a complete game victory, but he nearly killed the Musketeers with his bat, finishing the game three-for-five with five RBI to help Westside to a 20-6 victory.

The win clinches the Region 3-AAA (A) subregion title for the Patriots and they will begin a best-of-three series with Region 3-AAA (B) runnerup Greenbrier on Tuesday in the region playoffs.

Collins surrendered five runs to Richmond during the first three innings, but allowed just one run the rest of the contest.

"I got behind in the count early in the game and I struggled a bit," Collins said. "But I got to where I was by getting ahead and staying ahead in the count. But it was a total team effort. We haven't hit the ball that good all year. That's been a problem for us."

The two teams traded leads through the first two innings, but when Westside sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning, they scored eight runs and were never seriously challenged again.

A two-run homer from Matt Nixon gave the Patriots a 5-2 lead, then two batters later with Scott Bryant on base, Collins aided his own cause with a two-run blast over the center field fence to make it 7-2.

"They just whipped us," said Richmond Academy coach John Gregg. "Westside just came out and whipped us."

Richmond plated two runs in the first on Davis Beman's RBI double, then the Musketeers scored three more in the third on Chris Baxter's RBI single.

"I'm just glad to get this one behind me," Westside coach Gerald Barnes said. "We thought coming into this game, we would be out of the playoffs."

Thomson -- 18, Burke County -- 9

Thomson tossed a monkey-wrench into Burke County's plans on Friday, whipping the Bears 18-9 in a Region 3-AAA (A) contest. With a victory, Burke could have clinched the second seed in the Region 3-AAA (A) contest.

However, with the loss, Burke County, Thomson and Statesboro each ended the regular season with 4-4 subregion records. To determine the second seed, Thomson will play Statesboro at 4 p.m. in Statesboro on Monday with the winner meeting Burke County in a game set immediately to follow.

The winner of Monday's late game meets Region 3-AAA (B) top seeded Dublin in the region tournament, which begins on Wednesday.

Tim Morse covers Georgia high school sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3216.