Yellow Jackets in 2A finals
The Vincent Yellow Jackets defeated the Calera Eagles in the semi-finals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs last Friday to advance to the finals in Montgomery May 16-17.
Vincent won the first two games of a best-of-three series over the Eagles at Vincent High School to advance to the finals.
Vincent head coach Todd Davis said while he is nervous and excited about his team playing in the finals, he felt bad for Calera head coach Ken Copen and his team.
&uot;I feel bad for coach (Ken) Copen and his team, because he has done a great job over there as has his kids,&uot; Davis said. &uot;I wish there was some way the Vincent-Calera matchup could have been in the finals, but that’s just the way the regions are set up by the (Alabama) Athletic Association.&uot;
The Yellow Jackets will face Gordo in the championship game.
Calera drew first blood in the first game of the series. Griffin Hood and Andy Jones hit back-to-back singles in the first inning. The Hood single scored Nick Hicks, who reached on a walk, and the Eagles had an early 1-0 lead.
Vincent struck back in the third inning
with two runs to take the lead. Tavaris Slaughter and Zac Martin each singled with Slaughter scoring on a Kedrick Davis single. Martin later scored on a Brent Garrett sacrifice fly.
Calera rallied to tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning. Hood doubled and moved the third on a passed ball. Dallas Downs got the RBI on a single to score Hood.
The score did not remain tied for long, however, as Vincent added two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead.
Andre McKinney singled and scored on a Martin RBI single. Kedrick Davis got the second RBI with a single which scored Jared Smiley.
Calera threatened again in the top of the sixth inning when Dusty Downs reached on a leadoff single. Downs later scored on an RBI single by Jon Adams to make the final score 4-3.
&uot;Shannon (Morgan) came in the dugout and said, ‘I’m done, coach’, and I told him he wasn’t,&uot; laughed Davis. &uot;I told him just to get us through one more inning, and he did. His teammates gave him a little encouragement, and he got the job done in the seventh inning.&uot;
Morgan pitched all seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. He struck out nine batters and walked three.
Adams was tagged with the loss for Calera. Adams allowed 10 hits and struck out five batters in seven innings.
In game two Vincent scored four hits in the top of the first without getting a hit.
&uot;The first inning of the second game was just very strange,&uot; Davis said. &uot;We didn’t even get a hit and we scored four runs.&uot;
In that inning there were three passed balls, three wild pitches, two batters hit by pitches and two walks.
Slaughter, Kedrick Davis, Morgan and Martin all scored in the first inning to give the Jackets the lead.
Calera cut into the lead in the second inning with one run. Hood doubled and scored on an Adams RBI single.
Vincent tacked on three runs in the fifth inning to increase its lead to 7-1. Kedrick Davis reached on a throwing error and scored on a Derrick Swain double. Garret then reached on an error and was driven in by a Ryan Davis triple. Ryan Davis then scored on a wild pitch.
The Yellow Jackets increased their lead to 9-1 in the sixth inning with two runs. Slaughter singled and stole second and Martin walked. Kedrick Davis drove in Slaughter with a single and Martin scored on a Derrick Swain single.
Calera scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Vincent error. Jay Garzareck and Hood each singled and both scored on a Slaughter error to make the final score 9-3.
Jay Gibson was the winning pitcher for VHS, pitching all seven innings giving up eight hits and one earned run. He struck out five Calera batters and walked two.
Dusty Downs got the loss, striking out seven batters and walking five in five innings.
The Yellow Jackets improved their record to 27-10 with the wins.
Vincent will play Gordo (26-6) at 7 p.m. at Auburn University at Montgomery and at 4 p.m. on Friday at Patterson Field in Montgomery. Game three, if necessary, will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Patterson Field