RANDLEMAN — The second-seeded Randleman Tigers played home run derby Friday night in the second round of the state 2-A baseball playoffs, finishing with five round-trippers during a 13-3, six-inning victory over 15th-seeded Forbush at Joe Brookshire Field.
Hunter Atkins and Austin Lemons each had two home runs, with one of Atkins being a grand slam, and Seth Way added a solo shot in the sixth inning, which was part of a back-to-back-to-back homer barrage.
The win lifted Randleman to 22-4 and set them up for Tuesday night’s third-round game with East Davidson.
RHS scored three times in the bottom of the first, including a two-run homer from Lemons, for an early advantage.
“They came out swinging, it was a great start,” veteran coach Jake Smith said of his team. “Any time you can come out and put runs on the board early in the game and put pressure on the other team, it bodes well for you.”
It did Friday night as the early scoring would be all Lemons would need on the mound. The senior right-hander pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
RHS extended its lead to 8-0 in the fourth as Caleb Dunn had an RBI double and Atkins blasted his grand slam. Atkins’ homer came after he fouled off six or seven pitches with two strikes.
“It wasn’t necessarily about the home run, it was about having two strikes and battling eight or nine pitches,” Atkins said. “There was one out and I gotta do my job with the bases loaded. Our offense as a whole was great. We hit the ball as a team.”
Drake Purvis, who missed the entire season and is trying to work his way back into form, allowed three runs in the sixth to make it 8-3, but Atkins, Lemons and Seth Way ripped consecutive solo homers and Chesney Welch ended the game with a two-run double.
Atkins had four hits, John Kirkpatrick three and Lemon and Welch added two each as the Tigers finished with 13 hits.