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Bob Jones holds off James Clemens in epic Final Four series to reach state final

The Patriots celebrate their win Thursday evening.

MADISON – The Bob Jones Patriots are state championship bound with a 5-4 defeat of their cross-town rival James Clemens in Game 3 of the 7A Baseball Final Four on Thursday afternoon at home.

Bob Jones moves on to face Central-Phenix City on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Choccolocco Park in Oxford.

Central – Phenix City advanced to the final by sweeping away Auburn in the third round of the playoffs.

The crowd at Bob Jones High School on Thursday swelled with excitement around this pivotal game as they spilled out of the stands and around the concourse with a frenzy of cheers.

“Us versus JC in the Final Four is going to be remembered as one of the biggest games ever so far,” Bob Jones senior Braden Booth said.

“And us coming out and being able to compete with them and props to JC, they played their asses off. They played a lot better than we thought. They put pressure on us, and we ended up being able to handle it. It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Booth was one of the heroes of Game 3 with his solid defense at shortstop and his important 2-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning that pushed the Patriots into the lead for good at 5-4.

James Clemens appeared poised to bury Bob Jones with 4-run top of the first inning in this rubber match with the Patriots.

On Wednesday, the Jets had taken Game 1 by a score of 3-1, while in Game 2 Bob Jones was up 7-1 in the fifth inning until the action was halted by the severe weather that raged through North Alabama all evening.

When Game 2 resumed on Thursday, Bob Jones tacked on two more runs to win 9-1 and force Game 3.

The Jets were up 4-0 in the first inning as Patriots starting pitcher Jack Shaw struggled early on with two hit batters and some wild throws that gave JC some momentum.

The Bob Jones bats went to work with a run in the bottom of the first to begin to cut into that James Clemens lead at 4-1.

The Patriots scored two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to trail 4-3 when senior catcher Zach Johnson knocked in Gresham Baker with an RBI single for his second hit of the game.

Booth hit in the fifth scored Cam Martin and Myles Hammonds to go ahead and send the fans in red into a fit of thundering stomps on the bleachers.

Despite his high-stress first inning, Shaw held James Clemens scoreless the rest of the game with 4 hits, one walk and four strikeouts to punch the Patriots’ ticket to the state championship.

For a deeper dive into this Final Four series including photos and more player reaction, be sure to pick up a print copy of the Madison Record on Wednesday, May 15.

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