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Austin's Ty Chancelor, right, beats the throw as he slides safely into second base while Decatur shortsop Graham Spencer awaits the throw during the first game of the Austin-Decatur doubleheader Friday.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Austin's Ty Chancelor, right, beats the throw as he slides safely into second base while Decatur shortsop Graham Spencer awaits the throw during the first game of the Austin-Decatur doubleheader Friday.

Austin sweeps

Black Bears rap clutch hits to
score 24 runs in doubleheader

By Brooke Milam 340-2460

In the middle of an offensive outpour by both teams in the Decatur-Austin rivalry matchup Friday, the Black Bears picked the right times to deliver their hits.

"We had a couple of situations where we've been just short of driving in runs and tonight we had some keys plays in some tough situations where we made that happen," Austin coach Jake Miles said.

"That's a big change from the beginning of the season. I'm real proud of several of our guys for that."

Decatur grabbed early leads with hot bats in both games of Friday's doubleheader, but the Black Bears had more than enough answers for a sweep, winning 16-9 and 8-6.

"Intensity-wise, it was real high and emotionally it was real high," Austin's first baseman Russ Sandlin said.

"We could tell during batting practice it was going to be a good day."

There were plenty of heroes for Austin (6-10) in game one.

Decatur (6-9) built a 9-3 lead by the fourth inning of the first contest, but the Black Bears mounted a comeback at the plate, while holding the Red Raiders scoreless the rest of the game.

Austin posted four runs in the fifth, another four in the sixth and then five insurance runs in the seventh.

A two-run single by Austin's Laken Laughmiller scored Sandlin and Alex McCay, giving the Black Bears a 10-9 lead in the fifth, and Drew Sanders added another run in the inning on a passed ball.

Laughmiller went 2-for-3 in the first game with three RBIs, including a home run to lead off the second inning that bounced off the scoreboard in left field to put the Black Bears ahead 3-0.

Also for Austin in the first game, Sandlin was 3-for-4 with five RBIs, and Jake McCay went 2-for-4 and drove in a

Decatur's William Sartain blasted a two-run homer in the fourth inning as Decatur built a lead, and finished the first game 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Red Raiders teammate John Frost gave an encore performance, following Sartain's home run with a homer for Decatur's final run, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Austin's Gabe Porter got the win on the mound in game one, relieving starter Bobby Foster in the second inning, striking out four 5 2/3 innings.

"Our hitting was outstanding, and I thought our pitching was, too, but we just didn't make the routine plays,"
Decatur coach Mike Burns said.

"We've been putting up a lot of runs. We've been hitting the ball. We've just had some breakdowns. We have the talent. We're just not as mentally tough right now as we need to be."

The Red Raiders held an early advantage again in the second game, leading 4-0 before another Austin comeback spoiled the home team's chance for a split.

In the first inning, Alex Gist knocked in Sartain before a three-run homer by Graham Spencer over the right field wall scored Frost and Gist.

A two-run homer by Austin's Ben Bullard in the second put the Black Bears on the scoreboard, and Laughmiller's two-run home run in the fourth inning tied the game 4-4. An RBI double by Trey Richard scored Kayne Stuart for the go-ahead run.

At the end of the fifth, the two teams were tied at 6, but Austin broke the deadlock with a Sandlin RBI single, scoring Ty Chancelor, and a double by Corey Jackson that scored McCay.

Jackson got the win in the second game, striking out three and allowing two hits in three innings.

"Definitely this was a real even matchup," Burns said. "I think they've got good talent, and I feel like we do, too. In a game like that, it's whoever plays the cleanest baseball, and they played a cleaner game than us."

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