East Webster muscles Flashes out of playoffs|[05/04/08]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 4, 2008

Too big, too physical. East Webster’s powerful lineup raked St. Aloysius with four home runs among its 12 hits Saturday, and pushed the Flashes out of the Class 1A playoffs with a 10-0 rout at Viking Field.

The Wolverines had 25 hits and outscored St. Al 21-4 in the two-game sweep. They advanced to face Stringer or Cathedral in the South State finals.

St. Al saw its season end at 23-7. Flashes coach Clint Wilkerson told his team, which has no seniors, that they must get stronger.

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“They need to understand, East Webster is a team full of juniors. But they were a lot more physical than us. They were bigger, faster. And we’re not very physical. The seven games we lost, were to teams that were more physical than us,” Wilkerson said. “Still we had a very good year. We went 23-7 and got to the third round. We just need to get bigger. We need to get in the weight room and lift.”

East Webster coach Wes Johnson feels his team, offensively, is better than the one he had that won the state title in 2006.

“We swing the bats better. Our pitching has been inconsistent, but it was good in this series. We’re just blessed to have really good athletes one-through-nine, who believe they can hit it,” Johnson said.

The Wolverines jumped on St. Al starter Stephen Evans for seven runs in less than two innings. Bart Stewart opened the scoring with a solo home run with two outs in the first. It was his second home run in the series and 14th on the season.

Jordan Mixon belted a two-run homer to left to start the Wolverines’ second inning. After a hit batter, Reggie Obriant, East Webster’s leadoff hitter, smashed a two-run shot just under the Warren Central sign celebrating its 2001 state championship team. Another hit batter was followed by an RBI single from Stewart to make it 6-0.

Tanner Roberson singled in Stewart for a 7-0 lead. Evans then hit his third batter with two outs to force Wilkerson to pull him.

Joseph Brown came in and did a good job, keeping the Flashes in the game until the sixth. He gave up the Wolverines’ fourth homer of the game on a solo shot by Jermaine Liggins in the fourth inning.

“Joseph is a kid who pitches with a lot of heart,” Wilkerson said.

The bad news for St. Al is that they could get nothing going against Roberson. Pierson Waring got a first inning single up the middle and that as the Flashes’ only hit for the game.

The Flashes did have a chance to score in the second, third and fifth innings thanks to walks issued by Roberson. But each time, Roberson got the key out to get out of the jam.

The biggest escape came in the fifth when St. Al managed to get the bases loaded with one out after Ryno Martin-Nez walked, Blake Haygood reached on an error and Waring got hit by a pitch. Roberson came back to strikeout Evans and then got Sean Weaver to fly out to left.

The Wolverines got two more runs in the sixth against Brown, who finished with 4 1/3 innings of relief. Roberson, though, struck out three in the St. Al sixth inning to end the game. He had 10 for the game.

Mixon led the Wolverines’ hit parade with three hits, including a double, home run and four RBIs. Stewart and Jonathan Banks had two hits each.