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Tuscaloosa Academy moves on to next round


Austin Menard delivers a pitch for Tuscaloosa Academy in Friday’s AISA Class AAA playoff game against Monroe Academy. TA won, 9-4, to advance to the second round. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter)


TUSCALOOSA | In previous seasons, Tuscaloosa Academy has had trouble advancing past the first round of the AISA baseball playoffs.

It looked like that might hold true again on Friday against Monroe Academy before the Knights put up eight runs over two innings en route to a 9-4 series clinching win in the AISA Class AAA playoffs.

"(Thursday) in the second game, they had a game where we felt like we could close the series out last night," TA coach Patrick Jones said. "Things didn’t go their way and it was really a heartbreaking loss for them. Today, they came out a little bit tentative but couldn’t be prouder of my team for really showing the resiliency it takes to to win a playoff series and putting that behind them, hitting the reset button and getting the job done today."

Monroe Academy (21-14) jumped out early with Brandon McKinley scoring on a groundout by Blaine Lee. In the next inning, Cody Wells hit a two-run home run to give the Volunteers a three-run lead. The Knights answered with a five-run rally in the third inning.

Jon Boyd led the way, batting 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. Taylor White and Kyle Andrews each hit 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Clay Thomas, Gregory Taylor and William Heath each scored two runs. Taylor and Heath also had one RBI. Parker Farley and Johnathon Plott each scored a run for the Knights.

Austin Menard began the game for the Knights, pitching 213 innings and allowing three runs on three hits. Andrews came in to pitch the final 423 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run with three strikeouts.

With the win, Tuscaloosa Academy (25-11) will host Prattville Christian in the semifinals beginning on Wednesday with the time to be announced. Prattville Christian took a best-of-3 series against Lee-Scott on Friday. The Knights swept Prattville Christian in a doubleheader earlier in the season.

"We’ve played them, we’ve swept them, but they’re obviously playing a different brand of baseball because they beat a heck of a team in Lee-Scott Academy who has been ranked in the top-5 all year long," Jones said. "We’ve got to be ready to bring it if we want to advance to Patterson Field."