Six Blount County teams took the field Friday for games one and two in Alabama’s first round of state playoffs. Appalachian, Oneonta, and J.B. Pennington won their respective area and played at home while Hayden, Southeastern, and Susan Moore were runners up and traveled. Hayden, Oneonta, and Southeastern won their first two games to advance to round two. J.B. Pennington split Friday’s games and won game three Monday to advance. Appalachian and Susan Moore saw their season come to an end Friday night.
The Eagles won the 1A Area 12 championship and hosted 1A Area 10 runner up Marion County. Appalachian held on to a 5-4 lead until the top of the fifth when Marion County scored to tie the game. They added four more in the sixth and three in the seventh to take the lead. The Eagles scored one in the sixth, but only three in the seventh for a 9-12 loss.
Marion County jumped out to an early lead scoring four runs in their first at bat. The Eagles did get one run in the bottom of the inning. Bryson Seawright, Chase Payne, Caden Jones, and Joey Williams each reached base on ground-ball singles with Williams driving in Seawright.
The Red Raiders couldn’t get much going at the plate in the second, third, or fourth innings, but the Eagles scored another run in the second and three in the third. In the second, Landon Snow and Logan Harvey walked. Seawright then doubled on a fly ball to center field to drive in Snow. With two outs in the third, Snow walked and made it to third on Harvey’s ground-ball single. Martin then tripled to center to drive them home. Seawright got his second RBI of the game driving in Martin giving the Eagles a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the fifth with two outs and bases loaded, Marion County’s Grant Beckon stole home to tie the game. In the sixth, the Red Raiders scored three runs on four straight singles. They added another on a passed ball extending their lead to 9-5. In the bottom of sixth, the Eagles got one run back. Jones doubled on a line drive to left field and then scored when Logan Baswell tripled on a line drive to right field.
Marion County added three runs in the top of the seventh for a 12-6 lead. With two outs, Seawright and Helms walked. Payne cleared the bases with a three-run shot to left field leaving them down 9-12.
Payne started on the hill for the Eagles. In five innings, he surrendered four hits and five runs striking out 11. Helms came in for the final two innings and gave up eight hits and seven runs.
The Eagles racked up 16 hits in the game. Jones led the Eagles with four hits. Payne drove in three on two hits, Seawright drove in two on three hits, and Martin drove in two on one hit. Williams and Baswell each drove in one. Helms, Baswell, Snow, and Harvey finished the game with one hit each while Williams had two.
In game two, Marion County scored seven runs in the first and the Eagles couldn’t recover as the Red Raiders went on to win 16-6. They added two runs in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, and four in the fifth. The Eagles got on the board with one run in the second, four in the third, and one in the fifth.
Williams led off the second with a single on a grounder to third and advanced to second on a passed ball. Snow drove him home on a hard ground ball to left field. In the third inning, Seawright doubled on a line drive to center field and advanced to third when Helms singled on a line drive to center field. Payne doubled to send both runners home and then scored on a triple from Williams. Jones scored the Eagles’ final run in the fifth. After reaching second on a ground ball to left field, Williams drove him in.
The Eagles used five pitchers in the game. Combined they gave up 13 hits and 16 runs striking out nine. Williams started the game while Taylor Barger closed it. Payne (1-for-3), Williams (3-for-3), and Snow (2-for- 3) each drove in two runs. Seawright finished the game with a couple of hits while Helms, Jones, and Brody Alexander each had one.
Appalachian finishes its 2021 season with a 12-9 record and an area title, their first in baseball since 2013.
by Jeffrey Williams
Hayden v West Point, W 3-1
Monday, April 19, was senior night for Hayden. The Wildcats hosted the West Point Warriors. Between the JV game and the varsity game, the Wildcats honored Braden Hodges, Trenton Sawyer, Carson Simmons, and Eli Williams for their dedication and hard work in the program. The seniors were presented with a bat engraved with their name. The players presented coaches Lucas Drake and Kenneth McGaughy with flags made of mini baseball bats and framed group pictures of the players.
After three straight strikeouts for the Warriors to begin the game, Hayden got on the board in the bottom of the first. Carson Snow reached on a bean ball then Caden Mason sent a 3-2 pitch deep in the left-center gap for a double, plating Snow. Mason reached third on a wild pitch but could get no farther. West Point tied the game in the top of the fourth, but it didn’t stay tied for long. Sammy Collins reached on a walk and later scored on an error. Collins walked again in the sixth inning and scored on a double by Simmons to provide the final run of the game with the Wildcats ahead 3-1.
Cole Loftis started on the bump for Hayden. Loftis collected the win going three innings allowing zero runs on zero hits and striking out seven on an efficient 39 pitches. Collins and Snow came to the mound in relief. Collins went three innings allowing one run on two hits while striking out three. Snow pitched one inning collecting one strike out.
The Wildcats finished the regular season at 15-10 (4-2 in Region 12 play) after starting a dismal 2-6.
Hayden @ Leeds, W 7-1; W 10-2
Hayden traveled to Leeds Friday to begin the Class 5A state playoffs. The Wildcats faced sixth-ranked Green Wave in a best-of-three series.
Neither team plated a run in the first inning. To lead off the second, Williams singled on a hard ground ball over second base. Williams then advanced to second on a passed ball. Collins attempted to sac bunt Williams to third, but the pitcher threw the ball away allowing Collins to reach safely and Williams to score. The Wildcats then loaded the bases, but were unable to score again.
The Wildcats didn’t hold the lead for long. Leeds scored on a passed ball to knot the game up at one.
Neither team scored in the third, but the Wildcats added two in the fourth. Simmons led the inning off with a single to left field. Then with one out, on a 3-2 count, Mason Mullaney tripled to right-center, scoring Simmons from first. Mullaney then scored on a ground out by Kyler Leamon. In the bottom of the inning, with one out, right-fielder Williams pulled off a rare feat for high school baseball. Leeds hit a line drive into the gap between first and second for what would be a routine single. Williams charged the ball and caught a one hopper, then threw Chambers out at first. The next batter was caught looking on a third strike and after four, the Wildcats held a 3-1 lead.
It was the fourth inning when things got out of hand for Leeds. Their pitcher hit his pitch limit and had to leave the mound with one out and two on base in the top of the sixth. A substitute was sent in from the bullpen and things got bad quick. Leamon hit a hard ground ball to third and reached on an error loading the bases. Braden Hodges was then beaned pushing Cole Sims, who was a courtesy runner for pitcher Loftis, across the plate. With Snow at the plate, Mullaney scored on a passed ball allowing Leamon and Hodges to also advance. On the next pitch, Snow singled scoring Leamon and Hodges. With a 7-1 Wildcat lead, Leeds brought in another pitcher. He beaned the first batter he faced, but didn’t allow another base runner for the remainder of the game.
Loftis earned the victory for Hayden allowing two hits and one run while striking out seven and walking zero. Mullaney went 2-for-4 to lead the Wildcats at the plate.
The win was Wildcat head coach Lucas Drake’s 100th career win. Drake took over the helm for the Hayden baseball program in 2015.
In the second game of the best-ofthree series, Hayden jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back advancing to the second round.
Facing the Leeds number two pitcher, Hayden started fast and strong. Lead off batter, Hodges doubled on a line drive to left field. Snow then tripled to right-center scoring Hodges. Mason singled on a pop up into no-man’s-land behind first base scoring Snow. Williams hit a ground ball for a fielder’s choice to third, but the third baseman threw the ball over the second baseman’s head into right field. Trenton Sawyer, courtesy runner for Mason, advanced to third and Williams advanced to second. Collins singled to centerfield on an 0-2 count scoring Sawyer and Williams. With one out, Loftis walked. During the Loftis at bat, courtesy runner Sims advanced to third on passed balls. Mullaney came to the plate and singled to center field scoring Sims. With a 5-0 Wildcat lead, Leeds brought in a relief pitcher who walked Leamon, and then for the second time in the inning, Hodges hit a double scoring Loftis and Leamon. At the end of the explosive first inning, Hayden held a commanding 7-0 lead.
In the top of the second, Leeds went three up, three down. The Wildcats then picked up where they left off. Snow doubled to left, then Mason singled to left scoring Snow. Williams tripled to right-center scoring Mason. Down 9-0, Leeds brought yet another player to the mound. He promptly gave up a single to left field by Collins, scoring Williams from third. Over the next four batters, Leeds was able to collect three outs, but the damage was done; Hayden led 10-0.
Leeds scored two runs in the top of the third, but it would not matter. Over the next few innings, Leeds accumulated base runners, but could not put together enough to get a runner across the plate.
Collins earned the victory on the mound for Hayden surrendering two runs on four hits over six innings striking out six. Snow came in from short in relief and threw one inning striking out one.
Hayden collected 15 hits in the game. Collins, Mason, Mullaney, Snow, and Hodges all managed multiple hits for the Wildcats. Six of the Wildcat hits were for extra bases. Collins led Hayden at the plate going a perfect 4-for-4.
The Wildcats host the second round of the playoffs against Sardis Friday with games at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Oneonta v Fayette County, W 5-4; W 10-0
Friday night, Oneonta, 4A Area 10 champions, met 4A Area 12 runner up Fayette County. In game one, Fayette County went ahead 4-2 in the fourth inning. Neither team scored again until the Redskins put three runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. They held on in the seventh to take game one 5-4.
Fayette County struck first scoring two runs in the top of the third. Oneonta answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Will Moye led off and reached first on an error. Brody Moore followed with a ground-ball single to left field that moved Moye to third. A sac fly to right field off the bat of Brodie Devaney scored Moye. Beau Ragsdale grounded into a fielder’s choice sending Moore back to the dugout. With two outs, Luke Hodge drove in Ragsdale for Oneonta’s second run of the inning.
Down by two, Cameron Dailey led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and advanced to third on a grounder off the bat of Sam Patrick. Moye’s bunt single loaded the bases. Moore drew a walk sending Dailey home. Devaney drove in Patrick and Moye with a line drive to center field putting the Redskins up 5-4. Solid defense in the top of the seventh didn’t allow any more runs giving the Redskins a game-one win.
Kobe Harper got the win. He relieved starting pitcher Connor Faust in the fifth. Faust gave up two hits and four runs through four innings. Harper surrendered just one hit and zero runs through three innings.
Devaney drove in three runs on two hits to lead the Redskins at the plate. Moore drove in one run on one hit while Moye, Hodge, Andrew McElvey, and Dailey each collected one hit.
In game two, Oneonta jumped out to an early lead while Hodge shut out Fayette County. He pitched all five innings giving up just one hit in the Redskins’ 10-0 victory. Oneonta racked up 11 hits scoring one in the first, five in second, one in the third, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth.
Moye walked to lead off the game and scored on Ragsdale’s outfield hit. In the top of the second, Dailey, Patrick, Moye, Moore, and Devaney each crossed home plate putting the Redskins on top 6-0. A solo shot from Luke Hodge in the top of the fourth made it 7-0. In the fifth, Oneonta brought in Christian Houser as a courtesy runner for Dailey after he singled on a line drive to right field. Moye then got on base with an infield hit. With two outs, Devaney drove both runners in on a line drive to right field putting the Redskins up 10-0.
Moye (3-for-3) and Devaney (2-for-4) each drove in three runs while Hodge drove in two runs on two hits. Moore and Ragsdale each collected one RBI on one hit. Dailey and Patrick both finished with one hit each.
Oneonta is now 18-7 and preparing for their second round match up at Brooks (13-14) Friday night. First game is at 4:30 p.m. with game two following at 7 p.m.
J.B.Pennington v Vinemont, L 3-4; W 10-0; W 6-5
After falling to Vinemont 3-4 in the first game of the series, Pennington dominated game two for a 10-0 win to even the series. In Monday’s deciding game, the Tigers held on to a slim 2-1 lead after four innings. Vinemont posted four runs in the top of the sixth to go up by three. The Tigers came up empty in the bottom of the sixth leaving just one more at bat to mount a comeback. Pennington got it done scoring four runs to topple Vinemont 6-5 and advance to the second round of the 3A state playoffs.
The Tigers led for much of game one. They scored three runs in the first inning. Isaac Murphree drove in Matthew Smith and Sawyer Heptinstall and then scored on Dawson Tinker’s infield hit to give the Tigers an early 3-0 lead. Vinemont finally got on the board in the fifth inning scoring a couple of runs. They evened the score with another run in the sixth and took the lead with one run in the top of the seventh. The Tigers couldn’t answer as Vinemont took game one.
Presley Williams got the start for the Tigers. He went seven surrendering five hits and four runs for the loss. Tinker led the Tigers at the plate with two hits and one RBI. Murphree had two RBIs on his only hit while Smith and Heptinstall each finished with one hit.
In game two, Pennington struck first again, but this time there would be no Vinemont comeback. Zack Timmerman pitched a complete game allowing just two hits and zero runs. Jeremy Ortiz scored Pennington’s first run in the second inning. Heptinstall drove in Noah Blackwood in the third for their second run. In the fifth inning, the Tigers added five runs taking advantage of several Vinemont mistakes. Jesse Amos, Smith, Heptinstall, Jackson Millwood, and Isaac Murphree each scored once in the fifth with Millwood and Murphree scoring Pennington’s final two runs in the sixth.
Murphree drove in three runs on two hits while Tinker and Heptinstall each drove in two runs on their one hit. Jaxon Timmerman finished with two hits and one RBI and Z. Timmerman finished with one hit as did Blackwood.
With the series tied 1-1, it all came down to Monday’s game. J. Timmerman drove in Murphree for the first run of the game. Vinemont scored once in the top of the fourth to tie it at 1-1, but Pennington added one run in the bottom of the inning to go back up.
The Eagles scored four runs in the sixth inning to go up by three. In the Tigers’ last at bat, Dillion Arnold bunted and reached first on an error and made it safely to second on a ground from Smith. A single from Millwood loaded the bases and Murphree’s single on a ground ball to left field brought in Arnold and Smith. Tinker drove in Ortiz to tie the game at 5-5. After J. Timmerman walked the bases were loaded again. Z. Timmerman’s sacrifice fly was deep enough to get Murphree home for the 6-5 win.
Z. Timmerman got the start for the Tigers on the mound. He gave up two hits and five runs in five and a third innings. Smith pitched the final one and two-thirds allowing two hits and zero runs. Murphree led the Tigers at the plate with three hits in four at bats, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Tinker and Millwood each had two hits and J. Timmerman had one.
Pennington (16-16) travels to Winfield Friday to face the Pirates (29-12). The first game starts at 4:30 p.m. with game two set to begin at 7 p.m.
Southeastern @ Altamont, W 10-0; W 10-0
The Mustangs traveled to Altamont Friday and shut out the 2A Area 9 champions in back-to-back games. Southeastern won each game 10-0 behind two stellar pitching performances from Ashton Cardenas and Trent Carpenter. In game one, Cardenas gave up only two hits and allowed zero runs while striking out six in six innings. Carpenter was just as impressive in game two. He allowed only one hit and zero runs striking out 10 in five innings.
Game one was scoreless for two innings. The Mustangs finally got on the board in the top of the third. After Ben Hall singled on a line drive to right field, he stole second and third. Then Cardenas drove him in. In the top of the fourth, Southeastern added three more runs. Carpenter got the inning started with an infield single, then took advantage of a couple of Knight miscues to reach third. Dylan Abbruzzo drove him in on a line drive to center field. With two outs, Auston Sargent sent the ball over the left field fence for a two-run home run.
Southeastern tacked on four more runs in the fifth. With Cardenas on third and two outs, Carpenter singled on a line drive to center field scoring Cardenas. Kevin Juhola reached first after getting hit by a pitch and was replaced by courtesy runner Jackson McMillian. The two then stole third and second with Carpenter making it home on another Knight error. McMillian scored on Abbruzzo’s outfield hit. After another Knight error, Abbruzzo made it to third base and then stole home stretching the Mustang lead to 8-0.
In what turned out to be the Mustangs’ final at bat, Cardenas drove in Sargent, and Hall scored on a passed ball for their 10th and final run.
Cardenas, Abbruzzo, and Sargent each had two RBIs with Abbruzzo collecting two hits. Carpenter drove in one run on two hits while Cardenas, Logan Young, Sargent, and Hall each collected one hit.
After a short break, the teams took the field for game two. Southeastern picked right back up where they left off scoring one run in the first, one in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth and three in the fifth. In the first, Carpenter knocked in Young for the game’s first score. With two outs in the second inning, Abbruzzo scored on a wild pitch making it 2-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Mustangs loaded the bases after Nick McCray walked, Carpenter singled, and Juhola was hit by a pitch. McCray and Carpenter both ended up scoring on passed balls for a 4-0 lead. McMillian, Hall, and Young scored the three Mustang runs in the fourth while Juhola, Abbruzzo, and Dobbins scored runs eight, nine, and 10 to end the game in the fifth.
McCray and Abbruzzo each drove in one run on one hit. Carpenter collected a couple of hits while Cardenas, Dobbins, and Hall finished the game with one hit apiece.
Southeastern (20-14) gets a home series for round two. They will host Decatur Heritage (27-6) Fridayfora1p.m.and3p.m.game.
Susan Moore @ Phil Campbell, L 0-22; L 0-30
Susan Moore, 3A Area 13 runner up, faced a tough Phil Campbell team last Friday. The Area 15 winner finished the regular season with a 33-4 record.
In game one, the Bobcats scored 10 runs in the first. They added six in the second and sixth in the fourth to beat the Bulldogs 22-0. They outhit Susan Moore 17-2. Andrew Shelton had both hits for the Bulldogs. He led off the second inning with a single to center field and he led off the fifth with a single to left field.
Game two’s outcome was not any better. The Bobcats started the game with four runs and tacked on three more in the third. They put up 11 runs in the fourth and closed out the game with 12 runs in the fifth. The Bobcats finished the game with 22 hits while Camden Lackey’s single in the first inning was the only Bulldog hit in the game.
Susan Moore finishes the season at 5-13.