AUGUSTA -- With spring football practice in full swing, quarterback Jalen Lampkin is playing hooky. And for a good reason.
The Westside junior center fielder collected four hits, including the key two-run single in the first game, to help the Patriots sweep past Lamar County in the second round of the Class AA playoffs Wednesday.
Westside (22-7), which claimed 2-1 and 9-3 wins, will play host to Bremen-Lovett on Tuesday.
The Patriots, after losing in the first round last year, are making their deepest run since 2008.
“This is the first time I’ve been to the third round of anything,” Lampkin said. “We knew we just had to hit the ball to keep going.”
“A lot of these guys had to play last year, and I think experience has helped us,” Westside coach Gerald Barnes said. “They come every day and do what we ask them to do.”
Westside took care of Lamar County with 16 hits on the day, but they had just four in the first game. Patriots starter David Hagelston allowed a run in the first inning, scattering eight hits in the game. He pitched around trouble in the final inning, stranding a pair of runners.
The Patriots struggled to find offense against soft-tossing, Trojans southpaw Morgan Ford, who lived on the outside corner of the plate. Ford held Westside in check until allowing three hits in the pivotal fifth inning.
Hagelston started the Westside rally with a leadoff single. Tony Jones followed with another single. Austin Childers advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt.
With two outs, Lampkin blasted a seeing-eye single up the middle off the glove of diving shortstop Parker McBroom. The two RBI staked Westside to a 2-1 advantage, and pitching and defense took care of the rest.
In the second game, Lampkin led off with a double as Westside scored two runs in the first. Mason Dodd added two more doubles, while Chandler Silas, Price Dodd and Childers each added a double as the Patriots collected 12 hits.
Childers didn’t allow a run the first five innings and went the distance for the win.