Warriors, Jaguars split playoff openerPublished 10:19am Sunday, April 20, 2014
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer
ALABASTER—For the second time in as many years, the Thompson Warriors and Spain Park Jaguars’ baseball teams squared off in the opening round of the AHSAA Class 6A baseball state playoffs April 19.
The Warriors came into the series having suffered a heartbreaking upset at the hands of the Jags in 2013, despite ending the regular season ranked No. 1 in the state for 6A teams. While the Warriors looked to put the past behind them, the series took on an eerily similar tone as the two squads split the series 1-1.
In the opener, the Warriors once again came out on top, taking a 3-1 win.
Thompson got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead when Drew Avans scored when Mel Harwell attempted to reach first on a dropped third strike. The Warriors added two more in the bottom of the fourth. Jackson Cofer opened up the inning with a double to center, scoring on a passed ball two plays later. Zach Brammer (running for Joseph Simonetti) scored later on an error to put Thompson up 3-1.
Spain Park got on the board in the top of the sixth when Austin Haight scored on a sacrifice fly by Rodney Anderson to cut the lead to 3-1.
Neither team scored again, and the Warriors held on for the win.
In the nightcap, the Jaguar bats came alive in the fifth as Spain Park took a 5-1 win.
Once again, the Warriors got on the board first when Drew Avans scored on an error by the Jags in the top of the first (the home/away designation was reversed in game two) to take a 1-0 lead.
Avans also pitched four scoreless innings for Thompson before Spain Park exploded on offense. In the bottom of the fifth, Dalton Brown and Matt Berler put the Jags in the scoring column when they reached home on a Haight single. John Sumner then scored on a passed ball, while Haight scored on a groundout by Josh Rich to make it 4-1 Jags. Tyler Wise doubled to left to bring in Anderson for the final score of the game.
The two squads will play the rubber match April 21 to decide who will face Pelham in round two.