The Kennesaw Mountain varsity baseball team scored early and often as it swept a doubleheader from the Alcovy Tigers and advanced to the second round of the Class-AAAAAA state baseball playoffs Friday night.
Alcovy ended its season with a record of 10-18, while the Mustangs improved to 22-6.
Kennesaw scored three runs in the first inning of game one, added a run in the second inning and then erupted for six runs in the decisive fifth inning, defeating the Tigers 10-0.
In the nightcap, Kennesaw scored at least one run in every inning except the fifth, and scored seven in the sixth, beating Alcovy 13-1 and completing the sweep.
“We came out playing pretty decent,” Alcovy coach Ryan Denison said of the first game. “And, then we had some errors early — and walks killed us. We really kind of beat ourselves. Plus, we couldn’t really establish anything at the plate.”
Kennesaw leadoff hitter Reggie Pruitt led off the opening game with a walk. He moved to second on shortstop Michael Atkinson’s grounder to third. Catcher Tyler Stephenson singled, putting runners at the corners with one out and Zach Teem (2-for-2, double, triple, two RBIs, two runs scored) tripled, scoring Pruitt and Stephenson.
Pitcher Ryley Gilliam lined out to Alcovy first baseman Dalton Reagin and when Reagin saw Teem wandering off third base on the play, Reagin tried to double him up, but he threw the ball away and Teem scored, putting the Mustangs up 3-0 after one inning.
Meanwhile, Alcovy could only muster three hits against Gilliam as he faced just two batters over the minimum in his five innings of work.
Kennesaw scored six runs in the fifth inning, and the game was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Game two wasn’t any more kind to the Tigers as the Mustangs scored one run in the first inning, two in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth, leading 6-0 after four innings.
Alcovy scored its only run of the day in the bottom of the fifth as pinch hitter Zack Hill led off with a single. Hill went to second on first baseman Hunter Phillips’ groundout to third, and scored on third baseman Brock Carter’s RBI single, cutting the lead to 6-1.
However, the Mustangs parlayed four hits, four walks, an Alcovy passed ball and a wild pitch into seven runs in the sixth, giving Kennesaw a 13-1 victory.
Even in defeat, Denison was already talking about next year’s team.
“To make the State AAAAAA playoffs with just four seniors – that’s what I’m most proud of about this team,” Denison said. “These guys just never seemed to quit. Hopefully, they’ll be in the playoffs four straight years. The future looks bright, and I think we’ll be right back here next year.”