Stampede runs past Pelham

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pelham&8217;s turnaround run came to an end Saturday afternoon in an 8-2 loss at Paul W. Bryant in Tuscaloosa.

After being downed 12-2 in the second game of Friday&8217;s doubleheader, the Bryant Stampede rallied behind Michael Carden, who struck out eight in the complete game win.

&8220;You have to take your hat off to their pitcher. Their number one was better than ours (Wesley Rich),&8221; Pelham head coach Jeff Mauldin said.

Bryant (27-17) used a two-run third inning and a five-run seventh to move past the Panthers (26-13) and advance to host Shades Valley in this weekend&8217;s quarterfinals.

Pelham fell behind in the series 1-0 after the Stampede collected a 5-0 win Friday afternoon, but the Panthers followed the lead of Brandon Ricco and Trae Santos to take game two.

Ricco, who was 4-for-4 in the game, led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on the next at bat to give the Panthers an early lead. Pelham followed with a five-run second inning with the help of a two-run home run by Heath McGuirk. They added one more run in the third and five in the fifth, with Rich driving in the game-ending run.

The Panthers end the season winning 15 of 18 games in the final 30 days of the season and capturing the area title for the first time since 2003.

&8220;They&8217;ve laid the foundation for the future as far as I&8217;m concerned,&8221; Mauldin said.

&8220;When we were 11-10, we could have been a .500 team and just had a mediocre season, but (our seniors) took a lot of strides to show the Birmingham area, and really the state, that we&8217;re a good program, and we&8217;re going to be a good program.&8221;

Pelham defeated Homewood 4-1 in the first round last Tuesday.

-Calera swept at Geneva: Fourth-ranked Geneva held off a late effort by Calera in game two, Friday to hold on for a 3-2 win and sweep the second round playoff series.

After Geneva scored 14 runs off 16 hits in the first game of the series to win 14-4, game two looked different with Ryan Strickland on the mound for Geneva and Danny Barefield on the rubber for Calera.

&8220;It looked like a pitchers&8217; duel,&8221; Calera head coach Stephen Floyd said.

Barefield tossed a complete game, allowing no walks and six hits, while Strickland held the Eagles aside for six innings before giving up a lead-off double to Paul Winterbottom in the bottom of the seventh. Zac Isbell followed to pinch hit for Trey Posey and singled to drive in Winterbottom.

Chris Anderson later added a two-out bases loaded single to pull the Eagles within a run, but Geneva’s reliever, Patrick Robinson, struck out the last batter to secure the win.

&8220;(That inning) just goes to show that this team didn&8217;t want to quit again. They didn&8217;t want to go home,&8221; Floyd said. &8220;I&8217;m proud of them for not quitting. It would have been easy to lay down after losing the first one 14-4. It shows the heart of this team.&8221;

Anderson, Posey and Austin Jenkins each had an RBI in game one.

Calera defeated Montevallo 8-7 in the first round.

Geneva travels to Clarke County for the quarterfinals.

-Briarwood swept by Spanish Fort: Spanish Fort, ranked fifth in Class 5A, defeated Briarwood 12-2 and 4-1 Friday to host Bibb County in this week&8217;s quarterfinals.

Briarwood (22-15) was unable to regain their lead after Spanish Fort moved ahead in the third inning.

Ben Bracewell scored on an RBI ground-out by Adam Russell in the first inning to put the Lions up 1-0, but the Toros added runs in the second and third to tie it and take the lead. Tommy Walker hit a two-run home run in the fifth to round out the scoring for Spanish Fort (33-6).

-First round shockers:

Oak Mountain (29-9) and Vincent (22-3) both fell in the first round last Tuesday, along with Chelsea (18-19), Spain Park (22-14), Thompson (17-19) and Montevallo (9-10).

Oak Mountain, ranked third in Class 6A, was downed by Shades Valley,

7-1, while Vincent was upset by Hale County 3-0 in 2A action.

Chelsea fell to Bibb County 4-2, while Thompson fell short at Mountain Brook 3-1 and Spain Park lost to Pinson Valley 6-2