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Bob Jones baseball field is ready to host a city rialry like none other. The Patriots will face James Clemens this week with the winner advancing to the Class 7A State Championship.

City Rivalry Like Never Before: Baseball Playoffs- Bob Jones vs. James Clemens- A “Hatfields and the McCoys” Local Battle

MADISON-

The matchup of a lifetime is happening this week in Madison as the two city schools and bitter cross-town rivals will meet in the semi-finals of the Class 7A baseball playoffs with the winner advancing to the State Championship series next week. The meeting of the two programs this late in the playoffs is a first in history.

“Hard to believe the final two teams left in the North of Class 7A are both from the City of Madison and what a great opportunity for our school system and our community,” said Johnny Johnson head coach of James Clemens.

The games will be played at Bob Jones High with an overflowed crowd expected to pack the baseball facility in what promises to be an old fashion “Hatfields and McCoys” country-style battle to the end. Games one and two will be held, weather permitting, Wednesday, 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. with game three, if necessary, on Thursday with first pitch at 5:30 p.m.

Bob Jones (40-11) finished the regular season No. 1 in the Class 7A state rankings while James Clemens (32-10) was slated No. 9 among the biggest schools in Alabama. The winner of this highly anticipated rivalry will face the winner from the South of the Auburn-Central Phenix City matchup.

The three-time defending Area 8 champion Patriots are no strangers to this level of the playoffs having been state runner-up in both 2019 and 2001 along with a semi-finalist spot in 2018 and, with a national ranking of No. 15 according to Perfect Game, Bob Jones is again set to do battle with the team they beat during the regular season by scores of 6-4, 6-1, 4-3.

“Our guys are ready for the challenge and know that previous game results will have no effect on this series as we must play very well to have a chance to advance to the 7A State Championship,” said Bob Jones head coach Jared Smith. “James Clemens is playing their best baseball of the year at the right time, so we have to be locked in, in all phases of the game.

The Patriots are batting .284 as a team with 75 doubles, 18 triples and 24 home runs. On the mound, the top-ranked Patriots have a 2.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP with 353 strikeouts and 164 walks. Smith, in his ninth season at the helm, has star-studded players such as Braden Booth, regarded by many as being one of the best players in the state and has signed with Mississippi State, Zack Johnson, an Alabama commit, Jacob Pearl, Reece Cato and Dillon Adkins.

For James Clemens, the squad is batting around .300 as a team, with a .356 slugging percentage, scored 296 runs but produced only three homers. Standout players for 2024 include Carson Loosier, Kaleb Wilson, J.T. Johnson, Satchel Wheeler, David Sharp, Luke Davenport, Ty Marsh, Francisco Ramirez, Ben Graves and Hayden Markfort. Johnson will be the first to speak up and mention this has been an outstanding team with very little fanfare.

“I can’t be more proud of my guys and the resiliency they have shown to get to this point,” said Johnson, in his sixth season as head coach. “This season hasn’t been easy as the record may show. These guys have fought through tough times and injuries, and through it all, continue to compete and move forward. We look forward to the challenge ahead across town.”

“We are extremely excited to play in a Final Four against our crosstown rival as this speaks volumes about the type of baseball that we play in North Alabama,” said Smith.

James Clemens roared through the playoffs with two-game sweeps of both Grissom and Hoover. The later included victories of 10-8 and 8-5. Bob Jones nailed nearby rival Sparkman in a two-game sweep, but was extended to three games versus Thompson. After Bob Jones took game one 5-3, the Patriots fell to the visiting Warriors 7-6 before gaining the upper hand in game three 7-1, which featured six runs in the second inning for the host Patriots.

“It’s going to be surreal to get to play a baseball game at our home park with this many fans in attendance and a state championship berth on the line,” added Smith. “I’m so happy that our kids get to experience this as they won’t ever forget it.”

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