High School Sports

Windsor, Piedmont favor small ball in GISA baseball title series

When it comes to the postseason in high school baseball, depth becomes a bonus.

For Windsor head coach Tyler Brown and Piedmont head coach Daniel Funt, a deep batting order and the presence of strong pitching have paid off with a trip to the GISA Class AA championship series.

Windsor, which travels to Piedmont for a best-of-three series with a single game Friday and a potential doubleheader Saturday, has seven players with 75 or more at-bats whose averages top the .300 mark. The Knights have gone 18-2 in their past 20 games to enter the title series at 20-6.

“Top to bottom, we can swing it,” said Brown, who will leave Windsor once the season is complete to take over the baseball program at his alma mater, Stratford. “We never press at any point in the lineup. Our bottom of the lineup has done a lot for us this year. Our two-hole hitter (Landry Rustin) leads the team in RBI because our eight and nine guys get on base all the time.”

Piedmont, meanwhile, also has the majority of its lineup batting above the .300 mark. The Cougars (20-5-2) won Region 4-AA, beating Windsor twice in the regular season.

Both teams favor manufacturing runs. Windsor has just six home runs as a team, while Piedmont has a similar number.

“Our big thing offensively is to have a good appearance at the plate, to try to get a hit and grind things out and not to give at-bats away,” Funt said. “From one through nine, we’re going to work the pitcher. Sacrifice flies, sacrifice bunts, moving people over, things like that.”

Piedmont’s standout hitters are Zach Biggs, a senior who bats .500 with three home runs and 35 RBI, and sophomore Brock Carter, who hits .449 with 28 RBI.

Rustin paces Windsor with a .397 average and 28 RBI.

Windsor, which averages 8.3 runs per game, has six players with five or more doubles. Five players top the 20 RBI mark.

In the first game of the Knights’ semifinal series against Robert Toombs, five Windsor players connected on doubles in a 15-4 win. The Knights then won 4-0 to close out the series.

“We’ve gone two-and-out on every team we’ve played (in the playoffs),” Austin Thomas said. “We haven’t struggled a lot.”

The Piedmont pitching staff doesn’t give up a lot of runs. The Cougars’ top three pitchers -- Beggs, Carter and Michael Davis -- all have an ERA below 2.2. Windsor’s top two starters, Thomas and Travis Cumbie, have an ERA in that neighborhood, as well.

Piedmont has won 10 straight games and 14 of its past 15. The Cougars advanced to the championship round with a 16-7, 10-3 sweep of Flint River.

“The team that’s going to win it is the team that makes the least amount of mistakes,” Funt said.

Friday’s game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start. Saturday’s action is set to begin at 1 p.m., with Game 3 to follow if needed.