Bringing out the heavy lumber, David Lipscomb is starting to post some big-time offensive numbers in the postseason baseball tournaments.
The host Mustangs (28-7) hammered out 12 hits — six for extra bases and four for home runs — in smashing Franklin Road Academy in five innings 12-2 Wednesday afternoon and claiming the Region 5-A crown in impressive fashion.
“The ball is just jumping off our bats lately,’’ said coach Ernie Smith, who is trying to guide his team back to state for the first time since 2005, which was the last time Lipscomb won the title. “We’ve played well against FRA every time this season.’’
Stung by a loss to M.L. King in last week’s District 9-A tournament, Lipscomb bounced all the way back out of the losers’ bracket by beating FRA twice on the final day to claim that title. The Mustangs upped their record 5-0 over the Panthers with the romp.
Rob Kurtz led the way with two homers, his fourth and fifth of the season, with the second one giving Lipscomb the win via the 10-run rule. T.J. Hoelzer belted his sixth of the season, and Kevin Davis hit his fourth, a shot to left.
After FRA had scored two runs in the top of the fifth to keep the contest alive, Hoelzer and Kuertz ripped back-to-back jacks, both on the first pitch, to end the game.
“We’re on a mission,’’ said Kurtz, who has smashed three home runs and taken eight walks the last 11 times up against FRA. “On the first homer, I got a knuckle ball up, then on the second, he left a curve ball up. I hit them both pretty well.’’
Wednesday, Kurtz knocked in three runs with his two homers. “I hope we keep hitting the ball the way we have lately,’’ said Kurtz, who has signed with Martin Methodist.
Smith had been concerned about Hoelzer, who went down in a heap in batting practice recently. “It looked bad at first, but it may have just been back spasms,’’ he said.
“After the loss to MLK, that kind of woke us up, we’ve bounced back and have played pretty well ever since,’’ said Hoelzer. “As for my back, it’s just about 100 percent OK.’’
Lipscomb batted around in both the first and second innings, both producing four runs.
In the first innings, Davis hit a two-run homer. The second was highlighted by Hoelzer’s two-run triple. Hoelzer, a junior shortstop, was 4-for-4 with four runs scored and he just missed hitting for the cycle, needing just a double.
For the day, winning pitcher Ryan Emery (5-3) was 1-for-2, Davis was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, Kurtz was 2-for-2 and three RBIs, and John Osborne 2-for-3 with three RBIs, all off four FRA pitchers. Emery struck out five.
FRA (25-8) had just five hits, three in the fifth when the Panthers scored their two runs.
Designated hitter Andy Williams had two of the hits and an RBI and Zack Smykel added an RBI single.
The Panthers advanced to the region finals with an exciting, tense 2-1, 10-inning victory Monday at Marshall County.
“Lipscomb really hits the ball, give them credit,’’ said veteran FRA coach George Weicker, whose team’s last appearance in the state was 2001. “We’ve played very well at times this season, but for whatever reason, we haven’t played well at all against Lipscomb. Our team has fought back all season, and we need to again.’’
Lipscomb hosts the Region 6-AA loser between Bolivar and Lexington on Friday in Sectionals, and FRA travels to the winner.
GOODPASTURE ADVANCES: Goodpasture (34-4) out-slugged Upperman 9-5 to win the Region 4-AA championship as No. 9 hitter William Potts went 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIS and was robbed of a homer to center. Andrew Rushing smashed his ninth homer of the season, backing up winning pitcher Jake McWhirter (4-0).
BGA PLAYS TWO TODAY: Battle Ground Academy has moved up the start of its best-of-three DII Sectional baseball series against Briarcrest to today in Franklin. The Middle Region champ Wildcats and Briarcrest meet at 4 p.m., with the second game at 7. If a third game is necessary, it will be played Friday at 5.
LIPSCOMB FALLS IN SOFTBALL: Trailing 5-2 with two outs in the seventh, Loretto pushed across three runs to tie, then hit a solo homer in the eighth, handing host Lipscomb a tough 6-5 loss in the Region 5-AA softball finals. Lipscomb travels to play the Waverly-Chester County winner Friday in sectionals.
MBA A TENNIS WINNER: The Montgomery Bell Academy tennis team (12-2) shut out host Memphis CBHS 5-0 in DII Sectionals to advance to the state final four for the 22nd consecutive time. Since the team concept began in ’87, the Big Red has made final four each year.
REGION TRACK: The Class A/AA Middle Region running event finals will be held at the Lipscomb track today, beginning at 6 p.m. Winners qualify for state.