Preston advances to regionals with 3-game sweep
The Preston Pirate varsity fall baseball team cruised to the Class A district championship last Thursday afternoon at the Jim Waller Sports Complex in Preston.
The Pirates (ranked 7th in Class A) took home the district tournament plaque with a 22-1 thrashing of the Varnum Whippets in the title contest.
The Preston squad began its journey towards the district crown with an 11-1 win over the Whippets, then routed the Prue Rockets 17-2 in Game 2 of the 3-team tournament, ending the Rockets’ fall baseball season.
The Pirates now advance to this week’s Class A regional tournament and will travel to Wister to battle three other teams – Wister, Amber-Pocasset, and Canute. The Preston diamond squad is scheduled to begin regional tournament play Thursday at 4 p.m. against the 10th-ranked Amber-Pocasset Panthers.
In last Thursday’s opening battle with Varnum, the Pirates opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first, then added six in the second and four in the third for a commanding 11-0 advantage.
The visitors plated their lone run in the top of the fourth to award the host Preston squad the 11-1, run-rule, victory.
The top hitters for the Pirates in the win were the duo of Bradley Winford (2 for 2, single, double, RBI) and Kaden Dean (2 for 3, single, double, 3 RBIs) with two hits apiece. One of Dean’s 3 RBIs came on an RBI groundout in the second.
The other Preston base hits in the contest came on a single by Noah Wilson, RBI single by Jayden Herring, RBI double by Kellen Dean, and RBI triple by Braxton Kennedy. Herring also had an RBI sacrifice fly in the third for the Pirates.
Other Preston baserunners in the opening win over Varnum were Winford (walk), Kennedy (error), Kellen Dean (walk), Luke Hankins (hit by pitch, error), Easton Shaw (error), and Hunter McElhannon (walk, fielder’s choice).
Shaw went the distance on the mound for Preston to earn the pitching win. Shaw worked four innings for the Pirates against Varnum, allowing one run on three hits, striking out five and walking one.
In last Thursday’s meeting with Prue, the Pirates erupted for 15 runs in the bottom of the first.
After the Rockets plated two runs in the top of the second, the Preston squad ended the contest on the run rule with two runs of its own in the home half of the inning to walk away with the decisive 17-2 victory.
Pepper Gallup was awarded the pitching win for the Pirates, allowing two runs on no hits with three walks, three strikeouts, and one hit batter in one and two-third innings of work.
Waylon Cope gave up one base hit in his one-third of an inning of relief work.
The Pirates scattered 12 hits in their at-bats, led by Jayden Herring (2 for 2, single, double), Kaden Dean (2 for 2, double, triple, 2 RBIs), Luke Hankins (2 for 2, single, double, 2 RBIs), Bradley Winford (2 for 2, single, triple, RBI), and Braxton Kennedy (2 for 2, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs) with two hits apiece. Kennedy’s two roundtrippers came during the 15-run first inning, beginning with a 3-run shot, followed by a 2-run blast later in the frame.
The final two base hits for Preston against Prue came on an RBI single by Kellen Dean and a 2-run home run in the first by Easton Shaw.
Other baserunners for the Pirates in the win were Shaw (walk), Cope (error), Gallup (walk), Hunter McElhannon (2 walks, hit by pitch), Tilak Parek (walk), Dustin Dunlap (walk), and Tyce Herring (walk).
In last Thursday’s district title game, the Pirates scored identical 11-run innings in the first and second frames for a commanding 22-0 advantage. The Whippets plated their lone run in the top of the third to award the host Preston Pirates the 22-1 victory and the district championship plaque.
The top offensive performer in the run-rule win over Varnum was Bradley Winford, who finished 3 for 3 with a single, double, triple, and 5 RBIs.
Other Preston batters to record multi-hit games in the title game were Jayden Herring (2 for 2, single, double, 2 RBIs), Kaden Dean (2 for 2, single, double, 2 RBIs), Kellen Dean (2 for 2, single, double, RBI), and Noah Wilson (2 for 3, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs) with two hits each.
The final four base hits for the Pirates in the district title contest came on singles by Easton Shaw and Ethan Bunner, an RBI single by Braxton Kennedy, and a 2-run double by Luke Hankins.
Other baserunners for Preston against Varnum were Herring (walk), Hankins (hit by pitch), Shaw (walk), Kennedy (walk, error), Kaden Dean (walk), Kellen Dean (hit by pitch), Hunter McElhannon (2 walks, RBI, error), and Braxton Clarkson (dropped third strike).
Winford picked up the pitching win for Preston, allowing one run on no hits with two walks and two strikeouts in two and two-third innings of work.
Karson Herbert recorded the final out for the Pirates in his one-third of an inning of relief work.
— Class A District Tournament First Game
Preston 11, Varnum 1
Varnum:0-0-0-1 1 -3-5 Preston: 1-6-4-x 11-8-0 WP: Easton Shaw LP: Romines HR: None — Second Game
Preston 17, Prue 2
Prue: 0-2 2-1-1 Preston: 15 – 2 17 – 12 – 0 WP: Pepper Gallup LP: Wong HR: Preston: Braxton Kennedy (2), Easton Shaw — Championship
Preston 22, Varnum 1
Varnum: 0 – 0 -1 1 – 0 -4 Preston: 11 – 11 – x 22 – 15 – 1 WP: Bradley Winford LP: Poull HR: None