King’s Ridge rolls into state semifinals

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The King’s Ridge Tigers rolled into the semifinals of the Class A private school baseball playoffs, defeating Calvary Day of Savannah 16-5 and 5-0 in the second round last week.

The Tigers, seeded fifth in the 16-team field, were to play at top seed Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in the semifinals, with a doubleheader scheduled for Monday, May 12, and a third game if necessary on Tuesday.

King’s Ridge (24-4) needed only four innings to score 15 runs in the first game, played at Alpharetta American Legion field, which ended after four and a half innings because of the 10-run rule.

Brandt Stallings drove in five runs for the Tigers with a homer and a triple in the third and fourth innings, when King’s Ridge scored 12 of its runs. Slade Osborne had two hits and three RBI. Connor Burns had two hits and drove in a run, and Grayson Byrd had three RBI for the Tigers.

Adam Moore went the first three innings to get the win, allowing three hits and one run with five strikeouts.

Austin Higginbotham shut out Calvary Day for six innings in the second game, allowing four hits and striking out 11. The game was scoreless for three innings, with King’s Ridge scoring two runs in the fourth and three in the seventh.

Stallings again led the Tigers’ offense, going 3-for-3 with three extra base hits. He had big hits in both scoring innings for King’s Ridge.

The winner of the King’s Ridge-ELCA series will play either No. 3 Hebron Christian or No. 2 Mount Paran for the state title. If the Tigers reach the finals, they will be the visiting team. The state championship begins with a doubleheader Saturday, with a third game if needed on Monday.

In the first round, King’s Ridge defeated Walker 12-3 and 15-0 at the Alpharetta American Legion field. Walker scored three runs in the top of the first inning in the opener and did not score again in the doubleheader.

Byrd had three hits, Burns added two hits and two RBI and Stallings drove in three runs in the first game. Moore settled down after the first inning, striking out seven in five innings. The Tigers broke the game open with seven runs in the third.

Moore had four hits and five RBI in the second game to back the pitching of Higginbotham, who worked five scoreless innings and struck out seven.

The Tigers led 8-0 after five innings and added seven runs in the top of the seventh. Higginbotham had three hits and Burns two, with Byrd and Kyle Brnovich driving in two runs each.

MH 05-14-14