at the start of the regular season, but wasnt 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
seasons 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 teams region title run last season.
Dublins 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
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 Watsons 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, Id 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 Cooks
game two starter, Kaleb Cowart, scored on a fielders 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 teams development this season. But were not ready to start
thinking about life without them, because we know weve got one more round
to go with them.
Class AA Playoffs, Semifinals
Dublin 3, Cook 2
Score by inning
D 020 001 0 3 3 2
C 000 020 0 2 5 0
Dublin 3, Cook 2
Score by inning
C 000 110 0 2 6 1
D 200 010 X 3 7 0