One Team Remains In Quest For Baseball State Championship
MADISON- Unlike the 1970’s hit song by Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t good. With three local schools still in the running for a baseball state championship going into the next round of the post-season playoffs, two fell in their battles leaving Madison Academy as the lone squad to advance to the next round.
Both Bob Jones and James Clemens fell in the Class 7A quarter-finals while the Class 5A Mustangs move towards capturing a state title with a two-game sweep of their latest opponent.
It just wasn’t their day. The fourth-ranked Bob Jones baseball team had been executing to near perfection going into the Class 7A quarter-finals of the AHSAA Baseball State Playoffs. The squad met the perennial powerhouse Vestavia Hills Rebels on the road at Sammy Dunn Field and did not play the brand of baseball the Patriots have become known for.
In game one of the best-of-three series, the host Rebels took an early lead scoring two runs in the second inning and one more in the fifth on their way to a 3-0 victory. Bob Jones starting pitcher Sam Mitchell tossed well, but received no offensive support from the usual firepower of the Patriots. The Rebels’ Caleb Shofner stifled the Patriots’ bats for the shutout.
Game two again was not the normal nearly flawless Bob Jones, which fell 4-2 completing the unexpected sweep by Vestavia Hills. The hosts scored in the opening frame on a Patriots’ error and added two additional runs in the fourth on back-to-back wild pitches. Bob Jones was relentless in its efforts for a comeback scoring its only runs in the series in the sixth and seventh innings. Loading the bases in the final frame with two outs, the Patriots saw their magnificent season come to a close on a fly out.
Bob Jones ends its season at 35-10 while Vestavia Hills (24-15) will now face Hewitt-Trussville (28-4-1) in the semi-finals.
James Clemens was faced with the challenge of battling top ranked Hewitt-Trussville in its quarter-final matchup. The Jets hosted the visiting Huskies forcing a third game in its best-of-three series.
The host Jets opened the series with a close 6-5 victory in game one before falling 3-0 in the second game forcing a third and deciding contest to determine the winner. In the do-or-die game, the Jets could not muster any offense similar to the second game, thus being shutout in the 14 innings over the last two games against the Huskies.
Hewitt-Trussville (28-4-1) pitcher Logan Phillips tossed a complete game shutout giving up just four hits while striking out five. For the Jets, Francisco Ramirez (INF, 5-8, 140, So.) collected two hits while Andrew Lawrence (INF, 6-3, 175, Jr.) and Noah Berry (P, 6-5, 200, Sr.) had the two remaining hits in the loss. Satchel Wheeler (P, 6-2, 195, Jr.) took the loss on the mound.
James Clemens, area runner-up, completed its campaign 24-20.
Madison Academy used strong pitching and timely hitting to advance the Class 5A state baseball semi-finals with a two-game sweep of Alexandria winning the contests 9-6, 4-0.
The sixth-ranked Mustangs took advantage of early inning scoring with nine runs and then held on for the three-run victory in game one. Junior Matt Manley was the winning pitcher with Jack Doyle completing the last two innings to garner the save. Senior Alex Wade was three for four at the plate as the squad had 11 hits in the outing. Hosted by the Mustangs, the series went to game two as junior Josh Bybee tossed a four-hit complete game to stifle any offense the visiting Valley Cubs (20-13) could muster. Bybee had nine strikeouts and just one base-on-balls. Again, Wade at the plate was the big force for Madison Academy as he ripped a solo home run.
The Mustangs (29-13) will face Russellville (31-11) in the semi-finals.