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Hebron sweeps to first state baseball wins

Photo: David McGregor. Hebron Christian Academy's Ben Mason, right, applies the tag to North Cobb Christian's Quinton Kitchin during Game 1 of the Lions' first round sweep Friday afternoon.

Photo: David McGregor. Hebron Christian Academy's Ben Mason, right, applies the tag to North Cobb Christian's Quinton Kitchin during Game 1 of the Lions' first round sweep Friday afternoon.

DACULA -- His team tied in the seventh inning of Game 1, Hebron Christian's Lance Dutton drew a walk to open the frame.

The senior immediately attempted a steal of second base and the North Cobb Christian throw got through the infield, so he immediately took off for third. The baseball also went underneath the glove of the Eagles' center fielder, allowing Dutton to race all the way from first as the Lions got a walk-off win without putting the ball in play.

It was a crazy ending, but it was historic. The 8-7 victory Friday was the Lions' first-ever state baseball playoff win.

"When I headed for third, I couldn't believe coach was waving me around," said Dutton, who was 4-for-5 with two walks in the No. 9 spot. "I was booking it. I was running as fast as I could."

The celebration continued in an equally tight Game 2 as Hebron (25-2) won 5-3 on a seventh-inning, two-run home run from Christian Davila. His blast scored Dutton, who led off with a sharp single that featured another fortunate bounce over the North Cobb center fielder, sending him to third base.

The Class A first-round sweep gave the Lions another home series Wednesday against Providence Christian, which swept Darlington on Friday. Hebron's two wins didn't come easy as surrendered a three-run lead in the top of the seventh in Game 1 and gave up a two-run edge in the bottom of the sixth in Game 2.

But each time, the hosts answered back with runs.

"(In the playoffs), you've got to battle through tough games," Hebron head coach Heath Kennedy said. "The key for us is can we execute when we need to and today we did."

Kennedy held his ace, Kevin Burgee (9-0), until Game 2 and the choice worked out. The right-hander pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts, allowing four hits and two walks.

Davila (3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs in Game 2) delivered a gutsy pitching effort in Game 1 that Jordan Hillyer finished off.

Hillyer and Danny Lockhart powered the offense in the opener, including a 3-for-3 effort with a triple, a walk, two RBIs and two runs from Hillyer. Lockhart was 2-for-3 with a walk, a triple, three runs and two stolen bases in a game where the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Hebron lineup combined to go 0-for-8.

But style didn't matter much Friday, a historic day for the hosts.

"(A playoff win's) been a long time coming," said Dutton, a Hebron student since the third grade. "That was the plan from the get-go, do so something we've never done before. We've set goals for ourselves and we've reached them as a team."