Waleska, Ga. – The Sun Belt Patriots (20-7) used just enough offense and tremendous pitching to shut out the Carrollton Clippers (12-15) 2-0 and punch their ticket to the Sun Belt League Championship.
“The whole year, this team has just been a very friendly with each other” said Pats coach Gil Navarro. “They’re a big family, they’re very tight. It’s just exciting to watch these guys put this (season) together.”
The Patriots had a tremendous performance from its pitching staff, shutting down the Clipper offense and only allowing four base runners all night long. Starter Jake Rogers (4-1) picked up the win after going 5.2 innings, striking out eight while giving up only three hits. Ryan Wesley, normally the Pats fourth starter, then pitched the final 3.1 innings in relief, striking out two while allowing no hits and only one walk.
“When you’ve got two of your best starters available to finish a game and run a game for you, you know you’ve got good things on your side,” said Coach Navarro.
The Patriots offense was held scoreless until the fifth inning. With two outs, Nate Stinson walked and Eriq White singled, bringing Sam Galanek to the plate. Galanek promptly hit a double off Clippers starter Brian Peet (1-2) into the left field corner, scoring Stinson and giving the Pats a 1-0 lead. Austin Pharr then loaded the bases with a walk before Sean McDermott was hit by a pitch to drive the second run home and make it 2-0 Pats. That was the only offense they managed, but it was the only offense they needed.
Carrollton had a chance to get on the board in the fourth inning. DeJhard Kimbrough led off the inning with a double into left center field. After Connor Burns struck out and Matthew Vaccaro flew out to the center fielder, Kimbrough advanced to third on a wild pitch. But the Clippers couldn’t capitalize as Rogers struck out Brian Dansereau to end the threat.
The Sun Belt Patriots will face the winner of the Eastern Division Championship series in the Sun Belt Championship. The Atlanta Crackers and the Brookhaven Bucks are currently tied in that series 1-1, and will play a game three at Peachtree Ridge High School to determine who advances.