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Augusta Christian’s “Zerbel” Strikes Out 15 Pinewood Prep Batters To Help Lions Advance In SCISA AAA Playoffs With 7-1 Win Wednesday On The Road

Augusta Christian’s “Zerbel” Strikes Out 15 Pinewood Prep Batters To Help Lions Advance In SCISA AAA Playoffs With 7-1 Win Wednesday On The Road  

By Billy G. Baker


SummervilleAugusta Christian rode the pitching arm of Georgia Southern signee Brett Zerbel for 15 strike-outs against host Pinewood Prep Wednesday, in an elimination round of the SCISA AAA baseball playoffs, won by the Lions 7-1.

Zerbel, a lefty who was throwing between 85 and 87 all game, also had two hits and one RBI in the game. The big bomber for Augusta Christian was Brandon Bowen who went three-for-four including a double and a home run that produced two RBI’s.

Pinewood Prep, (18-7) won their fourth region title in seven years under the tutelage of head coach Jay Buddin, but in this final game of the season the Panthers committed five errors, and in the words of Coach Buddin “picked the absolute worse time to go cold at the plate.”

Coach Buddin said the Panthers drew two outstanding pitchers this week in a 6-3 opening first round loss to Trinity-Collegiate, and their talented sophomore pitcher Tanner Hall, who had 11 strike-outs against Pinewood Prep on Monday. Then on Wednesday Zerbel pounded the strike zone on his way to a season high 15 strikeouts.

“We just went cold at the wrong time of the season but I am proud of our season when we went undefeated din the region,” said Coach Buddin.  “We will miss our three starting seniors but we have 11 juniors coming back. We have 60 players involved in our “B” team, jayvee team, and varsity. Our “B” team lost one game and our jayvee lost two games so we are excited the future of the program for sure.”

Augusta Christian will now travel to Porter-Gaud for a 5 p.m. game on Friday despite being a four seed while the Cyclones are a five seed. “SCISA officials felt like it was not quite fair to have Porter-Guard drive back down to Augusta on Friday after they had just beat us 3-2 at our place this past Monday,” said Augusta Christian head coach Keith Romer. “Sure, we would rather play at home but we will follow instructions and be at Porter-Gaud ready to compete this Friday afternoon.

“Our pitcher (Zerbel) was outstanding again today and he has been pitching this way all season and he is our ace,” said Coach Romer. “He brought it tonight and he is committed to Georgia Southern as a pitcher. He has a devastating change-up and it was very effective against this team today. We moved him up in the batting order from the three spots to lead-off and he responded very well at the plate also.”  

Augusta Christian scored two runs in the top of the second as Grayson Brooker reached second base on an over-throw to first base. The next batter, Pierce Finley singled put runners on first and third with no-outs. When Finley took off to steal second the throw from the catcher went into shallow center field allowing Brooker to score their first run while Finley advanced to third base. Pinewood then intentionally walked Zerbel.

Zerbel then executed a “pickle play” as he pretended to be stealing second base hoping to draw attention away from Brooker at third base. A second throwing error allowed Finley to cross the plate making it 2-0.

Then in the third and fourth innings the Lions added two and three runs respectively to build a 7-0 lead after 5 ½ innings. Jeb Bradford led off with a single and then Brandon Bowen hit a towering home run over the left field fence to make it 3-1. In the Hugh Arthur scored AC’s third run of the inning after he reached safely on an error, advanced to third base on throwing errors, and then was singled in by Brooker to make it 5--0 after three innings.

AC closed out their scoring with two insurance runs in the 4th inning.

The Lions collected 9 hits for the game and made no errors in the field. Brown led the way with three hits and two RBI’s and Zerbel had two hits. Joe Bradford and Finley each contributed one hit also.   

Pinewood Prep finally got on the board in the bottom of the 5th inning on a home run by catcher Noah Cadiz. The Panthers collected four hits with Cadiz claiming two of them. Matt Morris and Ben Beckwith got the other two hits for Pinewood.

Danny Flatt was the starting pitcher for Pinewood Prep and gave up five hits and fanned four batters in his 2.2 innings of work. Luke Hartig came in relief and worked the final four innings of the game giving up two hits.

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