Rebels and Raiders hope for AISA finals match up

Shelby County is on track for an All-County State Championship battle next week in Montgomery for the

Alabama Independent Schools Association (AISA) baseball championship.

Coosa Valley Academy (21-10) and Shelby Academy (14-6) both swept their first round series on Friday placing them on opposite sides of the bracket entering today&8217;s semifinals.

&8220;We knew all year that if we wanted to win an area championship, we&8217;d have to go through Shelby Academy and knew that there was a good chance we&8217;d have to do the same to win a state championship,&8221; CVA head coach Kevin Oakes said.

Shelby Academy was undefeated in Region A play until they met Coosa Valley on April 6 and 20, losing both games. Now, head coach Mark Windham hopes the two will get a chance to see each other again in next week&8217;s state finals.

&8220;I think it will be great. It says a lot about baseball in Shelby County,&8221; Windham said.

The state finals are April 8-10 at Patterson Field in Montgomery.

CVA wins Rebel war

One game sticks out when Coosa Valley Rebels&8217; head coach Kevin Oakes looks over his season schedule &045;

a 5-2 loss in Demopolis to South Choctaw on March 24. On that day, Michael Klinner struck out 12 batters, but collected the only loss in region play for CVA on the season.

&8220;Klinner pitched well enough to beat anyone on our schedule. Our defense made

a lot of mistakes,&8221; Oakes said about the loss.

Klinner (6-5) topped the mound against the South Choctaw Rebels again in Game One on Friday, striking out a career-high 17 batters for a one-hit shutout.

&8220;He pitched the most dominant game he has pitched all season. Needless to say, he felt he had a score to settle with them, and he more than stepped up at a very crucial time for us,&8221; Oakes said.

The strikeout total ties the season high set by Zac Taylor on April 20 against Shelby Academy.

Taylor (8-1) fanned 12 batters in the second game, also allowing just one hit for the 10-0 victory.

CVA hosts Crenshaw Christian today at 4 p.m. for a doubleheader. Game three will be played Thursday at 4 p.m., if necessary.

Shelby invades sumter

Kevin Lackey returned to the mound Friday for the Shelby Academy Rebels for the first time in two months to send his team to the second round of the playoffs.

In his first pitching performance since injuring his left elbow, Lackey (2-1) struck out 11 to collect the 6-5 win.

&8220;He started out a little bit rusty, but once he got in the groove, he was looking good,&8221; Windham said.

Lackey&8217;s rust showed in the first inning, allowing three runs, to fall behind 3-0. However, JoJo Tidmore drove in two runs to start the scoring for Shelby in the bottom of the second to make the score 3-2. Chad King and Cody Jones followed with RBIs to give the Raiders a 4-3 lead.

Tidmore later led off the sixth with a triple and was driven in by Jones for what turned out to be the winning run.

Stephen Castleman hit a two-out, two-run home run in the seventh to pull within a run, but Lackey struck out the batter to end the game.

Shelby hosts Abbeville today at 1 p.m. for a doubleheader. Game three will be played Thursday at 1 p.m., if necessary