Mobile Christian coach Talley Haines didn’t think his team was playing particularly well at the end of the regular season.
The page clearly has turned in the postseason.
The reigning Class 4A champions swept American Christian 9-1 and 5-0 on the road Thursday night to advance to the third round.
The Leopards (27-4) will play either Bibb County or Geneva next week in the quarterfinals.
“We hit a streak where we weren’t playing our best baseball, but that’s probably helped us the last two weeks,” Haines said. “I think we are a little more focused now. At this point of the season, you don’t look ahead. You figure out what your team needs and get ready for the next opponent.”
Mobile Christian got impressive performances from pitchers Kelly Lanier and Camden Diamond on Thursday.
In Game 1, Lanier struck out 6 and allowed just 4 hits. He lost his bid for a shutout with 2 outs in the bottom of the seventh. In the nightcap, Diamond allowed just 2 hits and 3 walks in a complete-game effort. He struck out 13.
“Kelly and Camden were great,” Haines said. “They did a good job as did both of our catchers, Ty Mancha and Grant Jay. We let our catchers and pitchers call the game. We give them a lot of freedom. They did a good job of going after hitters and making the pitches when they needed to.”
Zane Stokes and Alex Bennett both hit 2-run homers in the opener. Jay McCants drove in a pair of runs as well. Mobile Christian broke the game open with 5 runs in the third. Weston Wright allowed 8 runs on 7 hits in 6.2 innings to take the loss.
Bennett drove in 2 runs in Game 2. The Leopards got off to another strong start with 3 runs in the first and 2 in the third.
“We were able to score early in the game,” Haines said. “Their pitchers did a good job of staying in it and not quitting. We scored early in both games, and that puts a lot of pressure on the team when they have to have a big inning to get back in it so that really helped.”
Mobile Christian 9-5, American Christian 1-0, Mobile Christian (27-4) advances
Piedmont 4-5, Childersburg 1-0, Piedmont (31-4) advances
Lauderdale County 14-5, Collinsville 2-4, Lauderdale County (24-4) advances
Covenant Christian 12-5, Hackleburg 2-0, Covenant Christian (16-7) advances