After nearly a week off from competition, Hickory Post 48 finally kicked off its first round playoff series with Kings Mountain on Monday.
Hickory showed little signs of rust, tallying 24 runs and 18 hits to sweep doubleheader action.
Post 48 coach Fore Rembert was concerned about the time his team had in between games.
“When you take time off, you never know what you are going to get,” Rembert said. “You can’t take ground balls or do anything. We’ve been hitting at my house in a covered cage. We practiced one day at Maiden High School in an auxiliary gym and just threw. We tried to do some things to keep some rhythm going. They’ve been taking their hitting very seriously. I thought we got several good hits tonight.”
Hickory won game one of the doubleheader 8-0 behind two hits and two RBIs from Matt Johnson.
Johnson’s two-RBI single in the bottom of the second came on an 1-2 count.
“I just dug in when I got down pretty early,” Johnson said of his two-RBI single. “I just knew I had to do my job with two outs and a guy on second and third. I knew I had to get something through the hole. I just knew I had to do my job for the team. I came through and did it.”
Phillip Carroll added a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hickory’s Colton Allison also tossed a complete game shutout against Kings Mountain in game one win.
“I think we’re just starting to click,” Allison said of his team’s pitching staff. “We’re just doing what coach says. He is so smart that just makes it simple. It’s easy to pitch well when you’ve got 10 runs behind you.”
Tied 2-2 early in game two, Hickory scored five runs in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth to come away with a 10-run rule victory.
Despite running into early trouble, Hickory pitcher Greg Lucas also tossed a complete game — his team’s fourth in as many games.
Davis Hanvey and Tyler Pait led Hickory (16-7) with three RBIs each, while Colton Chapman, Zach Jarrett and Carroll each tallied one RBI.
Game three and four of the series are scheduled for today in a doubleheader at Kings Mountain starting at 5 p.m.
If rain cancels those games, the series will revert back to a best-of-three series, which would allow Hickory to advance to round two.