Three-peat attempt started Friday

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MERRY HILL – The hat-trick begins.

For those that may be unfamiliar a ‘hat-trick’ is three goals, or scores, by one player. In this case, it’s Lawrence Academy’s drive for a third straight North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association (NCISAA) 1-A state baseball championship.

Friday’s 12-0 win over Crossroads Christian School at home started the drive as the Warriors scored 10 runs in the first inning and coasted to an easy first-round playoff victory.

Blake Hill led the assault going 2-for-2 and driving in three runs. Evan Holton was 1-for-1 with a triple and two RBIs.

On the mound Darren Armstrong struck out six and picked up the win in three innings of work. Cameron Blowe came in for the final two innings of scoreless relief in the game which was shortened to five innings.

“I thought they came out focused,” said sixth-year coach Robert Kravitz. “Its playoff time and we feel like it’s our time to play at our best.

“We played like that today and hopefully we’ll carry that into the next four games,” he added.

Then he caught himself looking ahead and corrected himself.

“Or into the next game I guess I should say,” he said with a smile.

After Armstrong opened the game with three straight strikeouts, the Warriors went to work in the bottom of the first inning and scored five runs before registering an out.

After Holton walked, Cameron Peed doubled down the right-field line for the first run.

Chad Whitehead drew another base-on-balls and Lawrence struck again on back-to-back doubles with Hill’s two-run shot to straightaway center the big blow.

With one out, Ryan Lilley delivered the sixth run and Holton, batting for the second time in the inning, followed with his two-run triple that just stayed in the ball park, but did the job in getting in the runs. Whitehead then stroked the fourth double of the inning and Hill closed it out with his third run driven in.

From the second inning on Kravitz began to substitute – opening the frame with an entirely different eight players in the lineup. Armstrong gave up a couple of Colts base hits and a walk in the top of the inning, but got his final strikeout with the bases loaded to preserve the shutout.

Lawrence finished the scoring with two more runs in the bottom of the third inning as Tyler Brickhouse made it an even dozen plated by the green-and-gold when he scored on a wild-pitch.

Blowe gave up a pair of walks in his two innings of work, but also registered four strikeouts to give the Warrior hurlers 10 Colts batters sat-down either swinging or looking for the entire game.

The game was played early with a 1 p.m. start because Crossroads held their athletic banquet Friday night back in Henderson. Kravitz said the early start gave the game a new dynamic.

“My guys loved it,” he laughed, “getting out of class early, but also having some of the kids from school out here to see them play. It was a good atmosphere and I think they enjoyed it.”

Lawrence (24-4) plays its second round-playoff game today (Tuesday) at 5 p.m. against Faith Christian School of Rocky Mount. A win here and they advance to the state championship series at historic Fleming Stadium in Wilson, May 13-15.

The Lady Warriors softball team will also be in action at home at 5 p.m., hosting Shannon Forest of Greenville, SC in their playoff opener.