The postseason is starting to round into shape for the Greenbrier High School Wolfpack baseball team.
The Wolfpack swept Richmond Hill, 7-0, 5-3, Wednesday night, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state baseball tournament. The Wolfpack (23-6) play host to Stephenson, which swept East Paulding 14-13 and 8-3, on Tuesday, and will continue to be the home team as long as they last in the tournament.
The sweep was an impressive one all the way around.
Pitching-wise, Nick Sandlin (11-0) turned in a masterful Game 1 performance, throwing a complete-game two-hitter with nine strikeouts on just 78 pitches while reaching a three-ball count just once. In Game 2, Connor Hogan (8-2) scattered nine singles while inducing two double play balls, including the one that ended the game with the Wildcats (17-9) threatening with two on and one out.
Wolfpack head coach Jason Osborn has been looking for consistency from his club and liked what he saw.
"We had good efforts on the mound today and put the ball in play at the right times," said Osborn. "I'm very proud of my guys for keeping that focus, sustaining that after the first game and being ready to go."
The Wolfpack had their bats working all through the lineup in both games, clubbing a total of 10 extra-base hits. The seven runs they gave Sandlin made his job easier.
"Pitching with a lead, you've just got to throw strikes, kind of trust your defense and make them hit the ball to score instead of walking them on the bases," explained Sandlin. "And when they hit the ball and your defense can make plays, it's really not too hard."
The Wolfpack broke out the heavy lumber in the fourth and fifth innings with three doubles, two home runs and a triple.
In the fourth, Ty Snipes tripled home Adam Sasser from third base, Brett Lillis (3-3) doubled home Snipes and he came home on Davis Murray's double. Murray would score on a wild pitch to end the scoring.
"Davis (Murray) was hot today and Rube (Lillis) did a great job in the first game," Osborn said. "We just had some guys step in there and compete today."
In the fifth, one out after Chris Michals' two-run, line drive home run over the centerfield fence, Sandlin deposited a ball into the trees in left field as the lead grew to 7-0.
In Game 2, with the game tied at 1, the Wolfpack scored three times in the fourth inning as Ty Snipes singled home one and Murray, who was three-for-three, doubled in two.
Sandlin (3-4) singled in Michals in the fifth as the lead grew to 5-1.
The Wildcats struck for two in the bottom of the fifth to close the gap to 5-3, but Hogan slammed the door on seven pitches in the sixth after allowing a leadoff walk.
The Wildcats got a leadoff single to start the seventh, but Hogan responded by recording his first strikeout of the night. He then issued his second walk, but jammed the next batter with the ball going to third baseman Knox Marchman, who stepped on the bag and fired to first for the final out.
"It's going to get harder from here, we've got to keep that same fire and intensity," said Osborn.