ADEL -- The Cook High Hornets are back in the AA quarterfinals.
By sweeping Americus Wednesday at Bruce Long Field 2-1 in the first game and 16-4 in the second, Cook earned a spot in the quarterfinals.
The Hornets will face Cartersville, who were 10-0 and 8-0 winners over Pike County. Cook (22-7) will host the series, which starts Monday.
Cook once again rode complete game efforts of lefthanders Kyle Goff and Brandon Durden to victory. The two combined to strike out 23 hitters and give up five runs.
"You can't ask for anymore than what both of them did," Cook head coach Bob Owsley said. "Both of them had 100 pitches exactly."
The Hornets found hits scarce in the first game, managing just six hits off Panther starter Ben Gardner. But the Hornets found enough in the hits.
Cook tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth inning on a two-out single by Greg Robinson, scoring Durden.
Cook scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on a Goff double to bring around Jonathan Mathis.
Goff kept his team in position throughout the first game, hurling a three-hit performance over seven innings while striking out nine.
"He's been recovering from that broken hand. He's probably at about 90 percent as far as coming off the hill," Owsley said. "With the heat of the day and the tight ball game, I though he did a great job. I just wish that we could've gotten more runs for him."
The only run Goff surrendered came in the second inning, as the junior struggled somewhat with his control.
A two-out walk to Logan Gardner started the run-scoring rally. After a wild pitch moved Gardner to second, AHS scored the first run of the game on a John Gardner grounder just out of the reach of Hornet second baseman Greg Robinson.
But Goff recovered, getting stronger as the game went on, and held Americus scoreless the rest of the way.
There would be little drama in the second game.
Cook took a 3-0 first inning lead on a Durden two-run homer and didn't look back, scoring in every inning except the sixth.
Mathis scored the first run on a Trammel Dukes RBI single.
In addition to being the winning pitcher, Durden led Cook at the plate in the second game, homering twice and collecting four hits and five RBIs.
Zack Mauldin also had three hits and three RBIs, while Goff had two hits and four RBIs.
CHS scored twice in the second, three times in the third, twice in the fourth, once in the fifth and five times in the seventh inning for their final runs of the night.
"We hit the ball a little better in the second ball game. We helped ourselves," Owsley said.
Durden kept Americus clamped down all game long, striking out 14 and holding a perfect game through the first three innings.
"Brandon had a good night. He started out strong," Owsley said. "He made a couple of mistake pitches there when he gave up the first two runs. If he can get his breaking ball down I don't think they can score."
In the second inning, Goff brought in Mauldin and Jason Lane for a 5-0 lead.
The 5-0 second-inning advantage chased Americus starter Chris Lee from the mound after 1.1 innings.
He was relieved by Gardner, who yielded six runs over 5.2 innings of work. Casey Spence worked the final inning, giving up five unearned runs.
Mauldin made impact in the third, driving in Jerad Edmondson, who'd walked to lead off the inning. Later, Goff doubled in Mauldin and Robinson on another two-RBI hit.
Durden and Mauldin struck again in the fourth. Durden homered to left field and Mauldin drove in Robinson with a single to put the Hornets up 10-0 in the fourth.
Americus though, saw to it not to have its season ended on the 10-run mercy rule as it finally got to Durden in the bottom of the fourth.
A walk to Irwin Rutherford and single by Stephen Gordon gave the Panthers runners on first and second with nobody out.
Durden looked to have navigated out of the jam by fanning Adam Saint and Ben Gardner, but Chris Lee singled in the two runners to cut the deficit to 10-2.
Gordon was responsible for the final two AHS runs, blasting a t
wo-run shot in the sixth. But by then it was too late, as Cook led 11-4 at the end of six innings.
The final margin came in the seventh as the Hornets struck for five runs off Spence thanks to Americus miscues.
A bunt single by Durden and Edmondson reaching on an error made it 13-4. Robinson doubled home Durden and Lane drove in Robinson and Edmondson for the final 16-4 margin.
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