The area beyond the outfield wall at the Augusta Christian Schools diamond might be the most dangerous place in Columbia County.
With the way AC's lineup is launching the baseball over the fence, no one is safe.
Just ask Arlington Christian.
The Lions made the first-round Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA state playoff series look like batting practice, sweeping the best-of-three series with dual 15-0 wins over Arlington Tuesday at Augusta Christian.
"We've had more power this season than in past years," AC senior Will Reese said. "Everybody in our lineup can hit for power."
Augusta Christian's Will Reese is congratulated by coach Craig Johnson as he rounds third base after hitting a home run in the first inning against Arlington Christian. Later in the inning, he hit a grand slam.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
It's obvious Reese has been pumping some iron. Heading into the 2003 campaign, Reese's best home-run total for a season was two - he matched that in the first inning against the Eagles.
Reese hit two homers, including a grand slam, and Jordan Belcher added another blast to spark a nine-run uprising in the opening inning. The AC seniors also homered in game two.
On the season, Reese has hit 10 home runs and Belcher has gone deep 16 times, which is just three shy of the county record of 19, set by AC's BJ Hawes in 1999.
"That record is very well in reach for him," Augusta Christian coach Craig Johnson said of Belcher.
Things were looking up for the Eagles in game two - then Reese stepped to the plate. He led off the top of the third with a double, and the rout was on.
Belcher, Adam McKinney, Sam Pitts and Will Brantley followed with successive doubles, and later in the inning, Reese, Belcher and McKinney hit back-to-back-to-back homers.
The third-inning power surge turned out the lights on Arlington, as AC pushed 11 runs across the plate.
"Hitting is contagious," Johnson said. "I think we've got all the confidence in the world. Right now, we're playing very good baseball."
Augusta Christian (14-2-2) will play host to Southland Academy this week in the Class AAA state quarterfinals. The best-of-three series begins Monday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The third game, if necessary, will be Tuesday at 4 p.m.
"We know the competition will get better the further we move down the road," Reese said. "We've just got to keep plugging away and keep our bats hot."
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