High School Sports

Sweep gives Eagles berth in next round

The common feeling among the Hilton Head Christian Academy baseball team by the end of the night Monday might have been surprise.

After all, Eagles coach Danny Morgan reminded his team, only two of you have playoff experience. And this is a Christian Academy team that finished in the bottom of its region in 2011 and was forced to deal with personnel issues early in the season.

The Eagles aren't surpised at the success -- they know they have played well this season -- but might still be understanding how it is they're getting the job done.

Hilton Head Christian swept Augusta Christian 10-5 and 10-0 on Monday to open the SCISAA Class 3-A playoffs and will travel Friday to Pinewood Prep.

In Game 1, the Eagles scored nine runs the final two innings to overcome a four-run deficit. In Game 2, sophomore left-hander Alec Ambrosic surrendered only a hit while retiring 15 consecutive batters during a stretch to end the first inning and begin the sixth.

"Amazed," Ambrosic said. "That was just a good day."

Ambrosic, making his first playoff start, could not catch a baseball a week ago after suffering a broken bone in his right wrist. The wrist was wrapped Monday, but Ambrosic said it felt better.

Before the season, he lifted weights to help boost his velocity and worked hard to improve his changeup. Only two of his 15 consecutive outs Monday were strikeouts.

Ambrosic let the defense work. The Eagles' sure-handedness is a reason they earned a home playoff series after not coming close to a berth in 2011 with many of the same players.

Hilton Head Christian (13-7), trailed 5-1 during the first game before the top three in the Eagles' lineup reached and scored in the fifth.

"It was a huge momentum changer," said Eagles catcher Kevin Campbell, who started the rally with a base hit.

After the Lions' three-run fifth inning in Game 1, they were bottled up, outscored 19-0 over the final eight innings of the series. Hilton Head Christian junior Lincoln Fuller started Game 1 and turned in his longest outing, pitching a complete game and nearing 100 pitches.

"He just was a horse that went out there and ate up innings," Morgan said. "In a three-game series, you've got to have somebody that can do that. And coming back with somebody like Ambrosic who can throw for days -- wow. He was unhittable."

Augusta Christian coach Jack Hook said he didn't know much about Hilton Head Christian except that he expected a more competitive series based on how the teams matched up on paper. Like Hilton Head Christian, Augusta Christian finished with a 3-5 region record. The Lions finished the season 15-12.

"They reminded me of a few teams we played early in the year," Hook said. "They're not going to beat themselves. They play good defense and make you beat them."

Game 1

Augusta Christian 010 130 0 -- 5 7 1

Hilton Head Christian 100 036 x -- 10 12 1

WP: Lincoln Fuller 7 IP, 2 K, 2 BB, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER

LP: Ret Thompson 1 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 HBP

Top Hitters: Augusta Christian -- Sean Sweeting 2 for 3, BB, RBI, 3 R. Hilton Head Christian -- Kevin Campbell 2 for 3, BB, 3 R; John Jenkins 4 for 5.

Game 2

Augusta Christian 000 000 x -- 0 1 2

Hilton Head Christian 220 051 x -- 10 8 1

WP: Alec Ambrosic 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K

LP: Ben DeWitt 4+ IP 9 R, 8 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 HBP, 2 K

Top Hitters: Augusta Christian -- JD Reichel 2 for 3, 2 RBIs; Reese Dolynuck 2 for 3, RBI.