Shoals Chris­tian sweeps Fayet­teville to earn back-to-back Class 1A state cham­pi­onships

Cherokee County Herald - - SPORTS - Staff Re­ports

MONT­GOMERY – Shoals Chris­tian jumped out to a com­fort­able lead in Game 2 with four runs in the top of the first in­ning Wed­nes­day, then rode the strong pitch­ing per­for­mance of ju­nior De­van Traglia to a 7-4 win over Fayet­teville to sweep the Class 1A state cham­pi­onship se­ries. Shoals Chris­tian claimed game one last Tues­day 5-3. It was the sec­ond state ti­tle in a row for the Florence school.

Traglia (14-3) al­lowed eight hits and struck out eight in his com­plete-game ef­fort that in­cluded pitch­ing out of two bases-loaded jams.

Fayet­teville (28-6) se­nior starter Jeremy Mel­ton (11-2) also went the dis­tance, set­tling down af­ter giv­ing up four hits in the open­ing in­ning to limit Shoals to just three hits the rest of the way. One, how­ever, was a 390-foot triple by Class 1A Se­ries MVP Tay­lor Brackin in the sec­ond in­ning. The se­nior scored on Traglia’s sac­ri­fice fly as the Flame (33-21) built a 6-1 lead.

Brackin, who also tripled in game one, fin­ished the year with eight triples.

Traglia fin­ished with two hits and the RBI for the Flame. Aaron Bow­man also had two hits, Sam Stephen­son had a dou­ble and two RBIs and Char­lie Kel­ley had a sin­gle and RBI.

Justin Ricks had two hits and two RBI to pace the Wolves. Mel­ton also had two hits, in­clud­ing a dou­ble.

Class 2A Amer­i­can Chris­tian 1-10–11,

Leroy 11-5-10

MONT­GOMERY – Pinch-hit­ter Will Hol­ly­hand capped a four-run sev­en­thin­ning rally Thurs­day at River­walk Sta­dium with a two-run dou­ble to left­cen­ter field to lift Amer­i­can Chris­tian to an amaz­ing 11-10 come­back win over Leroy to claim the Class 2A state base­ball cham­pi­onship.

The Pa­tri­ots (30-10) won their first state cham­pi­onship since 2009 with the dra­matic fin­ish. Af­ter los­ing game one to the Bears 11-1 in five in­nings Wed­nes­day night, ACA won game 2 Thurs­day 10-5 to force the third game.

The Bears (33-6) jumped out to a 51 lead af­ter two in­nings off Amer­i­can Chris­tian starter Marc Sullivan. That lead stretched to 8-1 be­fore the Pa­tri­ots posted four runs off Leroy starter Ajay Snow in the bot­tom of the fourth to close to 8-5. ACA trailed 10-7 head­ing into the bot­tom of the sev­enth.

Marc Sullivan dou­bled to start the in­ning and Leroy Coach Matt Braun opted to bring in Wed­nes­day’s win­ner in game 1 Sam­mie Coates, who pitched only five in­nings in that vic­tory. Coates (9-1) struck the first bat­ter out, then walked Lan­don Fancher and Daniel O’Quinn to load the bases.

Catcher Cody Lawrence, who earned Class 2A se­ries MVP, sin­gled to left to plate Sullivan and Fancher to make it 10-9. Pinch run­ner Lan­don Sar­tain was in­serted to run for Lawrence at first base. Coates then got his sec­ond strike­out of the in­ning.

That’s when Moore called on Hol­ly­hand to pinch hit. He ran the count full, then con­nected on a Coates fast­ball in the gap as Snow, who moved to cen­ter af­ter lead­ing the mound, charged quickly to try and make the catch. The ball bounded off the div­ing fielder’s glove as O’Quinn and Sar­tain streaked around the bases. Sar­tain slid into home just ahead of the throw for the win­ning run.

Lawrence fin­ished with three hits, in­clud­ing two dou­bles, and five RBIs for ACA. Sullivan also had three hits in­clud­ing two dou­bles. The Pa­tri­ots had eight dou­bles on the night.

Chris­tian Snow had two hits, Justin Besteda had a sin­gle, dou­ble and two RBIs, A.J. Por­tis had a hit and drove in two runs for Leroy.

Ajay Snow struck out seven and al­lowed 10 hits in six in­nings for Leroy. Coates got the loss. Re­liever Seth Morris (3-0) hurled the fi­nal 3 2/3 in­nings, gave up one hit, two runs struck out three to get the win.

Class 3A Gordo 7-7, Madi­son Academy 3-6

MONT­GOMERY – Gordo ral­lied from a 6-2 deficit with five runs in the bot­tom of the sev­enth in­ning Thurs­day af­ter­noon at River­walk Sta­dium to top­ple Madi­son Academy 7-6 and com­plete a sweep en route to the Class 3A State Base­ball Cham­pi­onship.

The Green Wave (36-7) won the first game of the se­ries on Wed­nes­day, 7-3.

The Mus­tangs (30-14) ap­peared in con­trol of Game 2 from the get-go, build­ing a 3-1 lead af­ter three in­nings while start­ing pitcher Clayton Palicki kept the strong Gordo bat­ters from mount­ing any real threat.

Mean­while, Andrew Mob­ley slugged his 15th and 16th home runs of the sea­son as Coach Mike Good’s Mus­tangs built a 6-2 lead by the sev­enth in­ning.

Cameron San­ders and Tris­tan Hall both had three hits for Gordo. Michael Skel­ton and Jon Sullivan added two hits apiece. Kainen Sullivan, who got the win in re­lief by pitch­ing the fi­nal out in the top of the sev­enth in­ning, had his sev­enth-in­ning hit and two RBI. Kainen was named Class 3A Se­ries MVP.

The cham­pi­onship was third state ti­tle in this decade for Gordo, which won back-to-back ti­tles in 2002 and 2003.

Class 4A UMS-Wright 5-11-9, Brooks 8-3-7

MONT­GOMERY – Chase Wil­liamson’s solo homer in the top of the eighth in­ning put de­fend­ing Class 4A state cham­pion UMS-Wright ahead for good in the third game of the state base­ball cham­pi­onship se­ries Wed­nes­day night at River­walk Sta­dium. Re­liever Wes­ley Par­rish shut down Brooks in the bot­tom of the in­ning as the Bull­dogs won their sec­ond straight state ti­tle with the 9-7 win.

UMS-Wright (24-17) won Game 2 ear­lier in the day, 11-3 over the Lions with Wil­liamson hurl­ing six strong in­nings to get the de­ci­sion and force the third and fi­nal game. Brooks (27-16) won the first game of the se­ries Tues­day, 8-5. Wil­liamson was named the MVP of the se­ries.

Brooks took an early 3-0 lead in the first in­ning of the fi­nal game when Ma­son Castile sin­gled in one run and Caleb Wad­dell sin­gled in two more off Bull­dogs starter Wes­ley Par­rish. Par­rish pitched the first six in­nings and then yielded to Wil­liamson in the sev­enth in­ning with UMS lead­ing 7-5.

Wil­liamson (10-6), the catcher when he wasn’t pitch­ing, then pitched the bot­tom of the sev­enth but yielded two runs to the tena­cious Lions to send the game into ex­tra in­nings. Par­rish re­turned in the eighth to get the save for Wil­liamson, who notched his sec­ond win of the day.

Brooks start­ing pitcher Ryan Faulkner gave up six runs, all in the top of the third and all un­earned, over six in­nings. Nick Ma­so­nia, who ig­nited a fifth-in­ning rally with a tow­er­ing 395foot triple to dead cen­ter field, re­lieved Faulkner in the top of the sev­enth but left af­ter two bat­ters and Tan­ner Graham fin­ished up the sev­enth and the eighth in­nings to get the loss.

Ma­so­nia’s sin­gle also started the sev­enth-in­ning rally. He scored when Ma­son Castile’s liner to cen­ter got by a div­ing T.J. Dixon for a triple. Castile then scored on a wild pitch.

Wil­liamson home­red to right field and James Bradley sin­gled and scored on Tucker Ward’s dou­ble in the top of the eighth.

Par­rish yielded a sin­gle to Rus­sell Phillips in the bot­tom of the eighth be­fore Par­rish got Austin Michael to line out to sec­ond, caught Ma­so­nia look­ing on a third strike and then fanned Holt to seal the win.

Ward had a sin­gle, dou­ble and triple and two RBIs and Walt McKean sin­gled in two runs for the Bull­dogs. Dixon and Wil­liamson each added two hits.

Ma­so­nia, Austen Holt, Castile and Drake Tucker each had two hits for Brooks. Castile and Wad­dell also drove in two runs apiece.

Class 5A Span­ish Fort 16-11, Cull­man 6-6

MONT­GOMERY – Span­ish Fort opened the top of the fourth in­ning in its sec­ond game with Cull­man Fri­day with five con­sec­u­tive hits and scored seven runs as the Toros rolled to an 116 win to claim the Class 5A state base­ball ti­tle for the sec­ond year in a row.

The Toros (36-8) won the first game of the se­ries 16-6 on Thurs­day.

Span­ish Fort broke open a score­less duel be­tween Cull­man ace Kee­gan Thompson and Span­ish Fort hurler Rocky McCord with the big fourthin­ning rally in game two. The Toros posted four more runs in the top of the sev­enth to take an 11-2 lead into the bot­tom of the fi­nal in­ning.

Cull­man (45-11) ral­lied for three runs but could not get any closer as Troy Brown re­lieved McCord (10-1) to get the fi­nal two outs and seal the win.

Thompson (10-2) was greeted by Cole Jar­man’s lead­off sin­gle in the third. McCord, who went 3-for-4 for the game, fol­lowed with a hit to left-cen­ter. Class 5A Se­ries MVP Zac Fowler, who was also 3-for-4, drilled a dou­ble down the third-base line to drive in two runs. He fin­ished the two-game se­ries with six hits, in­clud­ing three dou­bles, a home run and eight RBI.

Class 6A Huntsville 6-10, Bald­win County 1-2

MONT­GOMERY – Huntsville High School se­nior left-handed pitcher Daniel Koger fol­lowed team­mate Luke Leeth’s stel­lar pitch­ing per­for­mance on Thurs­day with a gem of his own Fri­day af­ter­noon as the Pan­thers downed Bald­win County 10-2 to sweep the Class 6A state base­ball cham­pi­onship se­ries in two games and claim the school’s first state ti­tle. The Pan­thers claimed game one 6-1.

Koger al­lowed only three hits and struck out 10 to fin­ish the sea­son 113 for vet­eran Coach Mark Mincher’s team. The Pan­thers (35-11) gave Koger all the runs he needed in the first in­ning when catcher Andrew Den­nis slugged his 18th home run this sea­son over the left-field wall for two quick runs as Huntsville jumped out to a 3-0 start.

Cody Bur­ton’s triple to right cen­ter in the sec­ond in­ning drove in one run as the lead ex­panded to 5-0. Koger, mean­while, kept the Bald­win County hit­ters off stride with fast­ball and curve, which he got over the plate con­sis­tently for strikes.

Brant­ley John­son, who had two dou­bles and two RBIs in each game, drove in a run with a screech­ing two-bag­ger down the left-field line in the fourth in­ning as Huntsville built a 9-0 lead.

Bald­win County (36-14) got both its runs in the top of the fifth in­ning when Kris­tain John­son sin­gled in Jansen Boeschen and Tucker Miller. Boeschen had two hits to lead the Tigers.

Huntsville fin­ished with 12 hits off four Bald­win County pitch­ers. Bur­ton had two hits and two RBIs, Austin Cole his ninth home run of the year and a sin­gle, and John­son and Austin Hat­field two hits each.

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