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GISA CLASS A STATE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS ROUNDUP: Randolph Southern romps into Class A Final Four; Westwood wins Game 1 of its Elite 8 state series

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

STILLMORE -- Pay no attention to their record, but be sure to start paying attention to the Randolph Southern Patriots, who are ripping their way through the GISA Class A state baseball tournament.

They have been crushing teams in the playoffs, and they did it again Friday by sweeping David Emanuel, 8-1 and 6-2, in the Elite 8 round of the playoffs to advance to the Final Four.

"We pitched well, we played good defense and we hustled,'' said first-year Randolph Southern coach Tommy Owen of Friday's sweep.

But he could have been talking about the stretch run he has seen from his kids.

The Patriots are only 8-12 on the season, but they have won all four games in the playoffs with back-to-back sweeps, and are two series wins away from a state title.

And they're playing smarter.

"We took advantage of the errors for the first time this season,'' Owen said. '"We finally capitalized on the other team's mistakes.''

They made it look easy, thanks to Daylon Blanton, who went the distance in the opener Friday, allowing just two hits while striking out seven and allowing three walks. Grant Ward was the biggest hero at the plate. He went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs.

Grant Kimbrel went the distance in the second game, allowing five hits while striking out five and walking three. Jon Floyd had a big game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a three-run home run.

The Patriots will meet the winner of the Crisp Academy-Westminster Academy series in the next round. Crisp, last year's state runner-up, won the Region 1-A title. Westwood was second and Randolph Southern was third, and all three teams are alive in the playoffs and could all reach the Final Four next week.