Augusta Christian senior Travis Cerasuolo launched a solo home run over the left field fence last Friday in a key region game against Heathwood Hall. The long ball tied the score, but it wasn't the biggest impact the senior made that day.
Cerasuolo, the Lions' starting pitcher, gave up a run in the top of the first inning to the visiting Highlanders, but that was it. He spent the rest of the day throwing a complete-game four-hitter that saw 10 Heathwood Hall batters strike out.
Cerasuolo said the performance was right on his average.
"I'm consistent around 10 (strikeouts) per game," he said. "I just outthink the batters - change speeds on them."
Though the Highlanders failed to produce any more offense, Augusta Christian's Josh Whitaker crushed his Columbia County-leading 10th home run of the year. Cerasoulo doubled in another run in the sixth inning. Three Heathwood Hall errors added two more runs. The win avenged an earlier road loss to Heathwood Hall.
"We stubbed our toe on a couple of games in the region against Ben Lippen and Heathwood," Cerasuolo said. "The games we lost were because of a lack of confidence in the field and at the plate."
Those problems seemed a thing of the past on Friday as Cerasoulo picked up his second win of the season in the 5-1 victory. The win left the Lions once again in familiar territory as the SCISA regular season winds down.
Nothing was in the bag as of Monday for the two-time defending state champions as they entered the final week of regular season play, but Augusta Christian sat locked in a tie for first place in the region standings with Ben Lippen. If both teams win their final region games, they'll end the regular season in a tie for first place with two region losses each.
Johnson said the region title would be decided in a playoff game. He wouldn't have it any other way.
"I feel like we're battle tested," he said. "We've seen everything there is to see."
That includes an unprecedented come-from-behind victory over Ben Lippen two weeks ago. The Lions trailed 11-0 but came back to win 13-12.
"I've never, in all my days of coaching, been down 11-0 and come back to win," Johnson said.
The SCISA Class AAA state baseball tournament is scheduled to begin April 30.
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