Prep recap: Panthers clinch area title

By AUSTIN PHILLIPS / Deputy Sports Editor

ALABASTER – Pelham sophomore Michael Bishop knocked a three-run homerun in the fourth inning Thursday to give the Panthers all the run support they would need en route to an area championship victory over cross-town rival Thompson, 7-4.

The Panthers fell behind in the first inning when Thompson senior Alan Reeves smashed a solo home run, but Pelham answered in the second with three runs off of a RBI single by Andrew Bishop and a two-RBI single by Michael Bishop.

The Warriors reclaimed the lead in the third when Corey Kimbrel scored from second on a wild pitch, but the Panthers answered with an explosive fourth inning and never looked back.

“The thing I’m proud about is we showed character and answered when they scored,” Pelham head coach Jeff Mauldin said. “It’s easy to get down against a good team … but we kept fighting at the plate.”

Freshman pitcher Trevor Fitts earned the complete-game victory for the Panthers, striking out five.

“For a freshman to come out and pitch for an area championship, he did a great job of staying focused,” Mauldin said. “He didn’t let the score dictate how he threw. Most young guys would have lost control, but he gained more and more confidence and got better as the game went along.”

Thompson head coach Pat Hamrick also had nothing but praise for the Pelham freshman.

“Their pitcher threw well,” Hamrick said. “He kept us off balance all night.”

Offensively for the Panthers (25-6, 6-0), Michael Bishop was 3-for-3 with a home run and six RBIs, Matt Lawson was 2-for-3 with a run scored, Andrew Bishop was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and Caleb Payne was 1-for-4. Alvin Hines and Heath McGuirk scored two runs apiece in the win.

For Thompson (18-12, 4-2), Reeves was 2-for-3 with a home run, Trent Franklin was 2-for-3 with a run scored, Zach Smith was 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored and Jordan Chism, Ryan Terrell and Trent Lucas each finished with a hit.

Marshall Johnson picked up the loss for the Warriors.

Although a Thompson win would have forced a playoff between the two teams, the Warriors are still playoff bound after clinching a spot following Tuesday’s 11-4 win over Hueytown.

Hamrick said his team would use several regular season games next week to get ready. “We’ve got to start playing better baseball, but we’re in (the playoffs),” Hamrick said.

Maudlin also said the Panthers would do the same.

“We’ve got momentum now and we want to keep momentum,” Mauldin said. “We’ve got to fine tune ourselves for the playoffs by taking some time in practice to reintroduce things … kind of getting back to the basics.”

Hoover 4, Spain Park 3: The Hoover Bucs clinched a Class 6A, Area 11 title Thursday with a game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th inning to take the win over Spain Park, 4-3. The Jaguars will now face Vestavia Hills to determine the second playoff spot from the area.

Shelby Academy 11, Coosa Valley 0: Cody Jones pitched a complete game and struck out seven batters Thursday as the Shelby Academy Raiders took the win over Coosa Valley in a make-up game, 11-0. Chad King was the leading hitter for the Raiders with three hits, including a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Shelby Academy 21, Open Door 1: Jeremy Ogles and Steven Garcia had two hits and two RBIS apiece Thursday to lift the Shelby Academy Raiders to a dominant victory over Open Door via the mercy, 21-1. Colton Wingard also had a big game, finishing with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Ogles picked up the win for the Raiders, finishing with five strikeouts.

Leeds 15-16, Indian Springs 1-1: Leeds clinched the Class 3A, Area 7 championship Thursday with a dominating double-header sweep over Indian Springs, 15-1, 16-1.

John Carroll 7, Briarwood 5:John Carroll scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning Thursday to take the Class 5A, Area 8 championship in a 7-5 win over Briarwood. Despite the loss, the Lions are still playoff bound as the runner-up in the area.

Vestavia Hills 7, Oak Mountain 0: The Oak Mountain Eagles were only able to manage four hits Thursday as the Vestavia Hills Rebels took the shutout victory, 7-0.

SOFTBALL

Pelham 2, Oak Mountain 0: Kelsey Dennis threw a no-hit shutout Thursday as the Pelham Panthers held off the Oak Mountain Eagles for the win, 2-0. The win increased the Panthers’ pitchers scoreless inning streak to 52, while Pelham has also pitched nine straight shutouts. Offensively for the Class 6A No. 6 Panthers (30-6), Dennis had two hits, while Christin Crocker and Heather McGuirk each had one.

Leeds 9, Chelsea 3:The Chelsea Hornets scattered seven hits Thursday, but it wasn’t enough as the Leeds Green Wave took the victory, 9-3.

Kingwood 3, Lowndes Academy 0:Kingwood scored three runs in the sixth inning Thursday to take the win over the Lowndes Academy Rebels, 3-0. Madeline Lee had a hit and an RBI for the Lions, while Lauren Rozof and Kaylyn Ingram each had an RBI in the win. Emily Lane scored a run for the Lions (11-6).

Vestavia Hills 5, Thompson 0:The Thompson Warriors managed just one hit as Vestavia Hills took the shutout victory, 5-0.

Fultondale 10, Calera 0:Fultondale scattered 11 hits Thursday in a dominating win over Calera via the mercy rule, 10-0.

BOYS SOCCER

Oak Mountain 7, Pelham 0: Oak Mountain’s Chandler Hoffman scored five goals Thursday to lift the Eagles to an easy win over the Pelham Panthers, 7-0.

Vestavia Hills 1, Indian Springs 0Matthew Albritton scored Vestavia’s lone goal as the Rebels took the close win over Indian Springs, 1-0.

GIRLS SOCCER

Vestavia Hills 2, Oak Mountain 1: The Oak Mountain Eagles’ overtime woes continued Thursday when Vestavia’s Graycie Wingo scored after 2:13 into overtime to take the win, 2-1. The loss eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention