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