Calera rallies to overcome Montevallo

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shelby County entered Tuesday’s playoffs with nine teams, but that number has fallen to three after a number of upsets in the first round.

Of the three teams advancing (Briarwood Christian, Calera and Pelham), each had to rally for a win.

Calera rallied to overcome an early 6-0 deficit to Montevallo on its way to an 8-7 victory in a Class 3A playoff game.

Trent Posey picked up a clutch hit in the top of the sixth inning to drive in the game-winning run, as Chris Anderson retired the Bulldogs in the seventh for the win.

“Something changed for them attitude wise (midway through the season), and they just don’t want to give up now. I think they believe in themselves, and each one of them believes in each other. Even when somebody fails, the next guy says, ‘Hey, I’ll pick you up,'” Calera head coach Stephen Floyd said.

That attitude showed after starting pitcher Danny Barefield hit three batters and allowed six runs, only one unearned, through just one and one-third innings on the mound.

Montevallo’s Dallas Lucas was hit by a pitch twice, scoring after each trip to the bases, while Zac Stansell drove in three runs off a sacrifice fly in the first and a two-run double in the second. Phillip Evans led off the second inning with a solo home run to centerfield.

Barefield made up for his mistakes on the mound with his bat, as he led off the bottom of the second with a double and later scored on an error. Anderson added a two-run double to cut the score in half, 6-3.

Calera added a pair of runs in the fourth with RBIs from Nick Ellison and Paul Winterbottom. Barefield scored on an error in the fifth to tie the game, while Brian Watts gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead, scoring on a wild pitch just moments later.

Evans scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth off a squeeze play to tie the game 7-7.

Calera travels to Geneva High on Friday for the second round of the playoffs.

” The kids are excited, because we haven’t made it to the second round of the playoffs in a long time,” Floyd said. “I know Geneva will be tough, but I think we can beat them. This team’s been a good road team.”

Montevallo ended their season with a 9-10 record after making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

Class 6A

– Pelham’s Rich in first round: Wesley Rich (8-2) allowed no earned runs off six hits through six innings of work to lead Pelham to their first AHSAA playoff victory since winning the state championship in 2004.

An error in the first inning scored Homewood’s Vic Vicarlo, but that would be the Patriot’s only run, as Pelham rallied for a 4-1 victory.

Alvin Hines posted a two-out triple in the bottom of the third to drive in Steven Johnson and tie the game 1-1. The Panthers took the lead in the fourth with a successful squeeze play to score Caleb Payne. Rich tacked on two more runs in the sixth with a two-out, two-RBI single to help himself out before turning the mound over to Steven Yeatman for his second save of the season.

“It’s a huge win for these kids,” Pelham head coach Jeff Mauldin said. “We didn’t know how’d they respond having never been in this situation. To be honest, I think we came out a little tense and a little nervous. But when Alvin Hines hit the triple it took all the tension away.”

Pelham (25-11) has won 14 of their last 15 games as they travel to Paul Bryant High School for a best-of-three series in the second round on Friday. They previously shut out Bryant, 8-0 and 4-0, in a doubleheader at home on March 14.

– Thompson falls short to Mountain Brook: The Thompson Warriors struck quickly, scoring Corey Kimbrel on a sacrifice fly by Alan Reeves in the top of the first, but Mountain Brook rallied back to take a 3-1 win.

Mountain Brook tied the game in the third and later added insurance runs to pull away. Trent Lucas (4-4) picked up the loss. The Warriors conclude their season at 18-19.

– Shades Valley jumps on Oak Mountain: Oak Mountain’s run came to an end Tuesday, as Shades Valley pitcher Jade Todd kept the Eagles from scoring until late in a 7-1 victory. Shades Valley scattered a run in the third and fourth to take a 2-0 lead and later added five more over the last two innings to go up 7-0. Blaine Rosenburg scored for the Eagles in the seventh.

– Pinson Valley advances past Spain Park: Josh Magette and Scott Deason both scored in the fifth inning to take a 2-1 lead over Pinson Valley, but the Indians pressed forward to advance with a 6-2 victory. After Wes Gilmer put the Indians on the board in the fourth with a solo home run, they added three runs in the bottom of the fifth and tacked on two in the sixth to pull away. Spain Park ends their season at 23-14.

Class 5A

– Briarwood wins in extra innings: Briarwood Christian overcame an early 3-0 deficit to tie the game and force extra innings at UMS-Wright in Mobile Tuesday. Michael Wise drove in Daniel Ballew for the Lions’ game-winning run in the eighth inning to lift Briarwood past the first round of the state playoffs with a 4-3 win.

“It’s exciting for our program, one, to have gotten back in the playoffs and, two, to advance to the two-out-of-three play. Unfortunately with the way we have that first round set up, with a one-game playoff, the best team doesn’t always advance as we can see in the county tonight,” BCS head coach Lee Hall said.

BCS allowed three unearned runs off three errors to start the game, but put together their own three-run inning to tie the game in the third. Jeffrey Vincent, the only Lion with previous playoff experience, scored on an Adam Russell double to put Briarwood on the board. Paul McKelvey, making his first varsity start for the Lions, later drove in John Maiden to pull within a run. Wise tied the game with an RBI single to round out the inning.

Ben Bracewell, who threw 30 pitches in the first inning, tossed six innings, allowing no earned runs off six hits and struck out seven in the win.

“He and Michael Wise were the big stories of the game,” Hall said. “(Bracewell) really settled down and pitched really well.”

Briarwood returns home to host Spanish Fort, ranked third in Class 5A, in the second round Friday.

– Chelsea falls to Bibb County 4-2.

Class 2A

Hale upsets Vincent: Vincent’s dream of a return to the state championship game fell short in the first round on Tuesday with a 3-0 loss to Hale County. Hale’s Chad Payne tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits, while Vincent’s Cale Thompson (8-2) allowed two earned runs and eight hits in the loss. He and Octavius Looney each had a hit for Vincent.

AISA Regular Season

Kingwood falls short of postseason: Despite a 3-for-3 all doubles performance from the plate by senior Brooks Webb, Kingwood was unable to top Springwood in a 7-4 must-win game Tuesday. Kingwood (9-14) needed a win to advance to the state playoffs