Taylor made area champions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The only thing that could stop Coosa Valley&8217;s Zac Taylor (7-1) was a five-minute delay in the seventh inning caused by a truck&8217;s headlights behind home plate.

The senior pitcher for the Rebels (19-10) was unstoppable and nearly unhittable as he struck out a career-high 17 batters, against just two hits Friday night in a 6-0 win over Shelby Academy. The win completed a perfect area record (8-0) for Coosa Valley and clinched the Region 1 Area 1 championship.

&8220;I felt good,&8221; said Taylor. &8220;I know I had a good night going when I struck out 11 of the first 12 batters.&8221;

Coosa Valley scored first in the bottom of the second when Eli Freeman singled in Justin Chain. That would prove to be all the run support Taylor would need, but not all he would settle for.

In the bottom of the third, with Chase Ward standing on first, Taylor crushed a fastball over the fence in right field giving the home standing Rebels a 3-0 lead. Taylor drove in Ward again in the sixth inning with an RBI single. He finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBIs, raising his batting average to .640. He would go on to strike out nine of the last 12 batters he faced, including Shelby Academy&8217;s Paul Bailey, who was caught looking to end the game.

&8220;Zac is an incredible talent and a joy to coach,&8221; said CVA coach Kevin Oakes.

The loss leaves Shelby Academy as runner-up in the area.

&8220;We were pretty disappointed,&8221; said head coach Mark Windham. &8220;I told the guys when you are facing someone who was on like he was tonight, there isn&8217;t much you can do.&8221;

Cody Jones and Kevin Lackey each had hits for Shelby.

Shelby (12-6) travels to

Sumter Friday night for a first round, best of three series in the AISA state playoffs. Coosa Valley will host South Choctaw at 4 p.m.

Kingwood Christian (9-13) also hopes to make the playoffs and start a series at Lowndes Academy on Friday. They needed a win over Springwood Tuesday to advance to the playoffs. Results were not available at press time.