The Thomson Bulldogs are headed for the second round of the Class AAA state baseball playoffs next week after sweeping LaGrange in a doubleheader 9-8 and 11-7 Friday.
Thomson will play Cairo beginning at 4 p.m. next Wednesday with a doubleheader at the Thomson field. A third game, if needed, would be played Thursday.
"It feels great to have won the series against LaGrange," first year Thomson coach Jason Osborn said. "We knew from the scouting report that LaGrange was a team that wouldn't quit."
The Thomson skipper said he thought his team hit well.
"We swung the bat well," Osborn said. "We didn't play as we are capable of playing, though."
Defensively, the Bulldogs turned three double-plays in the two-game series.
The Bulldogs pounded out nine hits in the first game, including three homeruns. The homers were delivered by Nick Rau, a solo shot in the first; Abram Cartledge, a two-run round-tripper in the second; and Will Tankersley, a three-run blast in the third.
Rau came followed with his 10th homer of the season in the second game -- a two-run dinger over the left centerfield fence.
"It felt good hitting that homerun," Rau said. "It's the first time I've ever gotten in double-digits with homers. I'm pretty proud of myself."
Long-balls were something that LaGrange coach Donnie Branch was hoping his pitchers could avoid giving up to the Thomson team, now 22-4.
"Keeping them from hitting the ball out on us will be the key to this series," Branch said before the game.
LaGrange starting pitcher Clancy Alford, a right-hander, was tagged for three homeruns before being relieved in the fourth with Thomson up 6-0.
Thomson's Abram Cartledge, a junior southpaw, won his eighth game of the season, working 6 1/3 innings before Rau relieved him in the seventh after he gave up a three-run homer to LaGrange's Malcomb Dowell. Rau faced three batters and earned the save.
In the second game, Rau was called upon again when things became rocky for sophomore starting pitcher Andy Grimaud in the bottom of the fourth. LaGrange managed four runs that inning and scored three more runs in the bottom of the seventh off Rau.
The big inning for Thomson in that game came in the third when they erupted for seven runs on six hits -- Rau with a two-run homer and Cartledge, a two-run double accounting for the biggest damage.