CONYERS - Brandon Thomas must have taken personally Duluth's plan to pitch around the No. 9 hitter to face him instead.
Thomas drove in five runs, including a go ahead two-run single in the fifth inning and an RBI-single in the sixth, which both followed intentional walks to Chunk Smith, and lifted Conyers to a 13-9 win and a two-game sweep of Duluth at Henson-Carr Legion Field.
Duluth went on top early, grabbing a 2-0, first inning lead off Conyers starter John Muirhead (31/3 IP, 4 ER). Lighting-quick Marc Fenner led off the game with a triple and scored on Kyle Bailey's RBI-single. Zack Dale followed with a single and scored on the back end of a double steal to put Duluth ahead 2-0. Conyers answered on Travis Tarleton's run-scoring double in the bottom of the first, then took its first lead on Thomas' first two-run single of the game in the second inning to make it a 4-2 game.
The lead changed hands several more times, including Duluth's last lead at 7-5 after Bailey roped a two-run single in the fifth off winning pitcher David Lockwood (11/3 IP, 3 ER, 2 K). Duluth reliever and losing pitcher Jeffery Lanier allowed eight earned runs in three innings and in the fifth, served up Lockwood's sacrifice fly that made it a 7-6 game. Thomas followed two batters later with his clutch hit. For good measure, Nick Woodward added an RBI single and followed Thomas' hit in the sixth with a two-run single that made it 13-9.
Brandon Crumbley struck out the side in the ninth to finish off the sweep.
Conyers had no trouble in the first game, winning 12-0 in five innings thanks to the pitching of Beau Thomas and an early offensive outburst. The left-handed Thomas left two men on base in each of the first three innings, then struck out the side in the fourth and two more in the fifth (part of an eight-strikeout night) to wrap up a four-hit shutout.
Post 77 wasted no time getting to Duluth starter Jay Underwood, sending 11 to the plate in a five-run first inning. Travis Tarleton and Brandon Crumbley each drove in a run before Thomas helped his own cause with a two-run single that made it 4-0. Conyers went right back to work in the second, again scoring five runs in a 10-batter frame. Taylor Jackson, Thomas, Ross Roberts and Brandon Thomas each had run-scoring singles to give Conyers a 10-0 cushion.
Later, David Lockwood curved a solo home run around the foul pole in left field to make it 11-0.
Underwood took the loss, surrendering 10 runs (nine earned) and 10 hits in two innings of work.
Kurt Aschermann can be reached at email@example.com