By Anthony Rhoads
The Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers earned a trip to the GISA Class AAA state quarterfinals Monday with a sweep over Westminster at home.
The Chargers (13-6-1) defeated Westminster 12-6 in game 1 and 16-4 in game 2.
"I was real pleased with our hitting," ELCA head coach Joe Shadowens said. "Lately, we've struggled at the plate. I was also real happy the defensive performance. Our pitchers threw strikes, we hit the ball well and we made the plays in the field."
Lead-off hitter Chris Carver paced the offense by reaching base in each of his five plate appearances in game 2. He scored two runs, collected three singles, walked once and was hit by a pitch.
"He is the catalyst," Shadowens said. "He is batting over .400 and his on-base percentage is over .500. When he's on, we score runs. He knows his job and what we needs to do."
In game 1, he had two hits, three RBIs and two runs.
"It's a relief to get the first series out of the way and get the pressure off," Carver said. "I'm just trying to do my job and get on base and let the other guys move me around to score."
Donnie Menezes also had a good series. In game 2, he went 2-for-4, with four RBIs and three runs. In the first game, he got one hit, two runs and one RBI.
He also came in to pitch the final three innings in game 1, striking out five.
"He's done this for us all year long," Shadowens said. "He's a solid ball player and he's reliable. He's mentally tough and he realizes the job that has to be done."
Kris Yasinki pitched a complete game in game 2, striking out five and walking two.
"He's got the pitcher's mentality and he's very durable," Shadowens said. "He doesn't let things rattle him."
In game 2, ELCA was leading 5-1 in the third inning but a three-run homer by John Partridge cut the Chargers' lead to 5-4. Yasinski recovered and retired three of the next four batters to get out of the inning.
ELCA batted around in the fourth inning and sent 13 batters to plate. After the dust settled, the Chargers had scored 10 in the inning to take a 15-4 advantage.
Carver, Menezes and Blake Springer each scored two runs and Menezes slammed a three-run triple in the inning.
Designated hitter Bryce Colquitt went 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs and Christian White went 2-for-3 and scored a run.
Standouts from game 1 included Kyle Pope (three runs), Russ Cooper (three RBIs) and Blake Springer (three runs).
"We've got team unity; if someone gets down, we have faith that the next guy is going to come through," Carver said.
The Chargers play either First Presbyterian or Calvary Christian next Monday.
ELCA defeated First Presbyterian 8-7 earlier in the season.
"I like our chances right now," Shadowens said.