Lucas, Onarheim lead Warriors at Pell City

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Thompson head coach Pat Hamrick was counting on his starting pitchers in the Warriors&8217; AHSAA, Class 6A state playoff series against the Pell City Panthers last Friday.

Seniors Austin Lucas and Deven Onarheim did not let their coach down, allowing a total of two hits as THS (23-7) swept the Panthers in their best-of-three game series and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.

&8220;Our pitchers really stepped up today,&8221; Hamrick said. &8220;Any time they can give you two one-hitters in a row in a state playoff game, you have to be happy with that.&8221;

Lucas (7-2) pitched the Warriors to an 8-1 victory in the first game, throwing a complete game and striking out seven batters while allowing one run and two walks.

Onarheim (5-3) followed up his teammate&8217;s effort with 10 strikeouts, three walks and three runs on one hit. Onarheim earned the win in the second game, pitching six-and-one-third innings before being replaced by closer Daniel Cox.

Hamrick said it was important for his team to be able to sweep the series and avoid a third game on Saturday.

&8220;When you go into a three-game series, you always look to avoid that third game,&8221; he said. &8220;There&8217;s always a lot of added pressure so it&8217;s nice that we were able to get it done today.&8221;

The Warriors&8217; coach said he was just as happy with his team&8217;s offense in the series as he was with the pitching. The Warriors scored early and often against the Panthers, putting three runs on the board in the first inning of each game.

&8220;We set the tone in both games early,&8221; he said. &8220;You&8217;ve got to go out and put it to them early, and that&8217;s exactly what we did.&8221;

The Warriors face Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (23-7) on Friday in a third round best-of-three series.

&8220;Each round you advance in the playoffs means that each hit matters that much more,&8221; Hamrick said. &8220;Hillcrest is a very talented team and will be a big challenge for us.&8221;

With a win in this weekend&8217;s series, the Warriors would face the winner of Oak Mountain (27-8) and Clay-Chalkville (31-6) on May 12 and 13