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Dublin Sweeps Cook, Faces Lovett In Final | Local Sport
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ADEL — Dublin was voted one of the top five teams in Class AA baseball

at the start of the regular season, but wasn’t even among the top 10 when

the state tournament rolled around.

The Fighting Irish proved again on Monday how little those rankings

matter, though, sweeping a best-of-three semifinal series at No. 3 Cook.

Dublin will visit tenth-ranked Lovett on Friday in Atlanta to decide this

season’s Class AA state champion.

“There might have been some doubts at the beginning of the year, but all

of a sudden we just took off like we did last year,” senior first baseman Holby

Holmes said, referencing his team’s region title run last season.

Dublin’s two 3-2 victories over Cook gave the third-seeded Irish a third

consecutive series win against a top-five-ranked opponent. The Irish (26-9)

swept No. 2 Calhoun last week and beat fourth ranked Appling County the

week prior.

Including an opening-round win at Monticello, Dublin has won all four of

its playoff series on the road.

The Irish got it done Tuesday the same way they have much of the

season, receiving stellar performances from starting pitchers Kale Watson and

Zach Mullis. Watson gave up two runs over six innings to pick up the Game 1

victory, and his counterpart did his best to steal the show from there.

Mullis pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the save in Watson’s start,

then struck out 11 batters in a complete-game victory in the nightcap.

He also drove in the decisive third run in each game, with a sixth-inning

solo homer in Game 1 and an RBI single in the fifth inning of Game 2.

“We just made some big pitches to some really good hitters,” Mullis said.

Cook starter D.J. Johnson was as lights-out as anyone on the Dublin side

in the first game, however, as he matched Mullis with 11 strikeouts and

surrendered only three hits. But unfortunately for the Hornets, all three hits

were Dublin home runs.

Blake Register hit a solo shot in the second inning and Holmes followed

with another two batters later to give Dublin a 2-0 lead. Holmes’ homer came

in his first at bat since making some adjustments to his swing last week, he


“I had a bad performance at Calhoun, so (Dublin assistant coach Jody

Pollock) worked with me in the batting cage,” Holmes said. “He told me that

if I was willing to work, I’d get my swing back.”

Cook scratched out two runs on two hits in the fifth to tie it, but

Mullis’ home run put the Irish up for good in the next half-inning.

Dublin took another early 2-0 lead in the second game, scoring two in

the first on a hit, three walks and an error.

Johnson cut the lead in half with an RBI single in the fourth, and Cook’s

game two starter, Kaleb Cowart, scored on a fielder’s choice to tie it in the


Mullis again provided the eventual game-winner in the bottom of the

inning, singling to score catcher Michel Coffey, who reached on a lead-off


Cook (29-7) put runners on first and third with two outs in the seventh,

but Mullis struck out Josh Barks to end the Hornets’ season one round short

of the finals.

“These are some fantastic kids, every one of them,” said Dublin head

coach William Barham, who credited Pollack and assistant Tyler Rogers for

much of the team’s development this season. “But we’re not ready to start

thinking about life without them, because we know we’ve got one more round

to go with them.”

Class AA Playoffs, Semifinals

Game 1

Dublin 3, Cook 2

Score by inning

D 020 001 0 – 3 3 2

C 000 020 0 – 2 5 0

Game 2

Dublin 3, Cook 2

Score by inning

C 000 110 0 – 2 6 1

D 200 010 X – 3 7 0

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