SMITHVILLE – Stuart Coggins, Smithville’s big first baseman, delivered when he needed to on Thursday night.
Trailing West Union 2-0 in Game 1 of the Class 1A third-round playoff game, Coggins cleared the bases with his double to put the Seminoles on top with one swing of the bat as Smithville went on to win the opening game 6-3. The Noles completed the sweep on Friday night with a dominating 12-1 win.
“I was just hoping that my buddy (Wesley) Grier would get on, and I could get up there and put a good swing on the ball,” Coggins said of his hit. “That’s what happened, and we did what we needed to do to pull the win out. I feel like if we hit the ball like we normally can, no one can stop us.”
West Union went up 2-0 in the first inning when Ryder Willard hit an infield single leading off and scored when Boo Robertson reached on an error on a bunt. Starting pitcher Cole Phillips helped his cause with a sacrifice fly.
The lead held up until the fifth, despite the fact that the Noles had runners on in nearly every inning.
They had two on in the third on a hit by Dustin Moffett and a walk to Heath Noe and in the fourth when Jared Johnson reached on an error and Peyton Blair singled, but were unable to push a run across in either frame.
That all changed in the bottom of the fifth when the Noles sent all nine to the plate, and Coggins put them on top.
Aubrey Cox led off with an infield single, and Noe singled to center with one out. A walk to Wesley Grier loaded the bases, and Coggins hit his double in the gap in left center to clear the bases and grab the lead.
“They had no choice but to pitch to him there, and that was a big hit,” Smithville coach Jamie Russell said. “West Union had a really good pitcher (Cole Phillips), and he got tired. We got some opportunities there and took advantage of it. We had some big hits. We left some opportunities on early, but we took advantage when it counted.”
Will McNeese followed that with a base hit to put two in scoring position, and Johnson hit the second double of the inning to score both runs and make it 5-2.
“It was just a good team effort, with pitching and defense on a wet field,” Russell said. “We only made the one error, which I thought was going to come back to haunt us, but we battled, stayed in there and picked each other up. It was a total team effort.”
West Union inched closer in the sixth, scoring on a fielder’s choice by Willard, but Noe gave Smithville an insurance run in the bottom of the inning with an RBI triple to score Cox, who had drawn a walk.
Chris Lockhart had another solid pitching performance, going five-plus innings and allowing one earned run on three hits. Noe closed out the game to earn the save.
“I thought Chris threw a heck of a game,” Coggins said of his fellow senior. “He threw strikes and got the outs when we needed him to. I don’t think you could ask for a better game out of him.”
Smithville 12, West Union 1
The Noles didn’t wait in Game 2 to get their offense going, and Blayde Scott threw a two-hitter as he struck out seven on the night.
Wesley Grier, Stuart Coggins, Chris Lockhart, Jared Johnson and Peyton Blair all had multiple hits. Grier homered and finished with four RBI on the night, as Lockhart, along with Johnson and Dustin Moffett, hit a double and had a three-RBI game. Johnson also had a solo homer.
Smithville took a 3-0 lead in the first on back-to-back doubles by Lockhart and Johnson.
The Eagles scored their lone run in the same frame, and the Noles added two more in the second.
Grier blasted a two-run homer after Moffett had opened the inning with a double.
Blair added an RBI single in the third, and Coggins did the same in the fourth.
Smithville exploded for five in the fifth, sparked by a leadoff solo homer by Johnson. Two more scored when Grier reached on an error, and Will McNeese drew a bases-loaded walk. Lockhart’s fielder’s choice scored the final run of the game, and Scott worked around two baserunners in the bottom of the inning to secure the win.