Bringing the heat: Lucas, Warriors take on No. 4 Cougars in semis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Thompson Warrior pitcher Austin Lucas had never pitched a complete game win before his senior year.

That record changed the moment this season began.

Lucas has completed all but one of the games that he started this year, building a 9-2 record as a starter with a sub-two ERA.

&8220;Austin has been our number one starter throughout the year,&8221; Thompson head coach Pat Hamrick said. &8220;And he&8217;s thrown like a number one the entire year.&8221;

The Warriors have called numerous times on Lucas in the year&8217;s state title hunt, and each time he has answered that call.

Lucas has started two games for THS in the postseason, winning both games he has started and successfully closing another. He has struck out 21 batters and kept a solid 2.5 ERA during the Warriors trek through the playoffs.

Lucas said he enjoys the pressure that comes with being his team&8217;s top pitcher.

&8220;I like having the responsibility,&8221; Lucas said. &8220;It&8217;s my job to get everybody up when things are not going well and lead by example.&8221;

Lucas’&8217; example, Hamrick said, has been very beneficial to his team.

&8220;Our team believes that when he gets the ball we have a great chance to win,&8221; Hamrick said. &8220;He&8217;s stepped up and thrown on the mound as well as leading this team on and off the field.&8221;

Lucas and the Warriors (25-8) will be tested this weekend as fourth-ranked Clay-Chalkville comes to town for a AHSAA, Class 6A semi-final best-of-three matchup.

Hamrick said the Cougars, a team that defeated Oak Mountain in two games and outscored the Eagles 24-9 in two games, will likely give his team all it can handle.

&8220;Clay-Chalkville hits the baseball extremely well,&8221; Hamrick said. &8220;They&8217;re hot coming into this series.&8221;

The Warriors and Cougars square off on Friday with a double-header. The first game starts at 4:30 p.m. with the second game scheduled for 7 p.m. A third game is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday if necessary. The winner of this weekend&8217;s series will face the winner of Baker and Satsuma on May 20 in the Class 6A state championship game