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Kemp’s walk off double sends RHS to state title series

Stephanie King

Teams work day in and day out all season to give themselves the best opportunity to qualify for the state playoffs. Once qualified, teams put in countless hours at home and on the road in hopes of reaching the state championship. The Randleman Tigers saw their hard work pay off on Thursday night as they punched their ticket to the state championship with a walk-off win over the Washington Pam Pack. Since losing their final regular season game, the Tigers have turned things up a notch riding an eight-game winning streak into game two of the East Regional Finals. Randleman opened the best of three series with a 4-2 win over the Pam Pack on Tuesday.

Matt Kemp came out firing, striking out the first two batters of the night before walking the third. The runner was left stranded after Kemp struck out the next batter to end the inning. Randleman struggled in the bottom of the inning as Owen Strickland and Dawson Edwards both struck out to lead off the inning. Ramsey Petty drew a walk before getting thrown out at second on a hit from Kemp for the final out of the inning.

Washington drew a walk to open the top of the second before Robert Pollock had his hit caught for out number one. Kemp dialed in to strike out the next two batters to leave the Pam Pack runner stranded. The Tigers started strong in the bottom of the inning with a walk from Nick Neal. He stole second before getting picked off at third on a fielder’s choice after a hit from Dominick Poole. A deep double from Connor Sterling put runners in scoring position before the Pam Pack earned back to back outs to end the inning. The score remained 0-0 after two innings.

Neal made the throw to Kemp at first for the first out of the third inning. Kemp gave up a single Wilson Peed before striking out back to back batters to leave the Pam Pack scoreless. Strickland led off the bottom of the inning with a walk on a full count to give the Tigers a base runner. An interference call against Edwards gave the Pam Pack their first out of the inning. Petty doubled to put runners in scoring position before a walk by Kemp loaded the bases with only one out. A sacrifice fly from Neal scored Strickland to put the Tigers on the board. The Tigers left two runners stranded as Poole had his hit caught for out number three. After three complete innings, Randleman led 1-0.

The Tigers made quick work of the Pam Pack in the top of the fourth forcing them to go three up three down. Sterling and Brooks Brannon led off the bottom of the inning with back to back base hits before Jake Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice. Sterling’s courtesy runner Jozey Akins was thrown out at third on the fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. An infield single from Strickland loaded the bases as Edwards stepped to the plate. Brannon scored off a base hit from Edwards to push the Tigers’ lead to 2-0. Johnson scored on a sacrifice fly from Petty leading runners at second and third. With two outs on the board, Kemp sent the ball down the third base line to score Strickland and Edwards giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead. The Pam Pack struck out Neal for the final out of the inning as Randleman led 5-0 after four complete innings.

Kemp gave up back to back walks to start the top of the fifth before the Tigers banded together to get three straight outs and end the inning. After a strikeout from Poole to opened the bottom of the inning, Sterling sent the ball over the right-field fence just inches shy of the foul pole for a solo home run. Back to back singles from Brannon and Johnson put runners on first and second before a walk from Strickland loaded the bases. Edwards took a pitch to the led for a walk to bring in Brannon for the automatic score. Petty sent a sacrifice fly deep into right field for out number two giving Johnson enough time to score and give the Tigers an 8-0 lead. With two outs, Kemp stepped to the plate for a walk-off double that scored Strickland and Edwards to give the Tigers a 10-0 win over the Washington Pam Pack.

Randleman sweeps the Pam Pack to move on to the state championship series which will take place next Friday and Saturday. The Tigers will face either second-seeded North Lincoln or thirteenth-seeded West Lincoln in the championship series. The venue and times for the championship series have yet to be determined. Congratulations to the Randleman Tigers on their outstanding run to the state championship!

 

Randleman celebrates their Regional Finals win with a dog pile on Matt Kemp who gave the Tigers the win with a walk-off double. | Photo by Stephanie King

 

 

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