Spain Park secures playoff bid despite loss to rival Hoover

For Spain Park High School baseball coach Will Smith, the line between where the regular season ends and the playoffs begin isn’t very clear.

With his Jaguars competing in the annually tough Class 6A, Area 10, Smith said the entire regular season area schedule feels like a week-by-week playoff.

The Jaguars survived in Area 10 and earned the runner-up spot and playoff berth despite a 9-6 loss to rival Hoover in their final Class 6A, Area 10 contest on the road April 8.

Spain Park secured the final playoff spot in Area 10 with Oak Mountain’s 2-0 loss to Pelham.

The final Area 10 series pretty much felt like the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs, Smith said.

“All week we’ve been in a playoff mindset,” Smith said. “We’re in a six-round playoff. Every (Area 10 team) is a playoff team. The system is flawed.”

Spain Park (27-11, 4-4 in Class 6A, Area 10) could have played its way in with a win over Hoover, but a five-run sixth inning by the Bucs forced the Jaguars to wait for the Eagles’ loss to finalize their playoff plans.

Spain Park sophomore Mikey White started on the mound and gave up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk in four innings. The Jaguars used three pitchers the rest of the way.

Chris Ellis led Spain Park at the plate as he finished 2-for-4 with a solo home run, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Graham Craig finished 2-for-3 with a double, a single and an RBI.

Carter White, Jake Lee, Aaron Haag and Colton Freeman had a single each. Freeman also had an RBI.

The Jaguars will travel to Tuscaloosa County for the first round of the Class 6A playoffs April 16-17.

Pelham 2, Oak Mountain 0

Pelham senior Trae Santos fired a complete-game shut out to lead the Panthers (31-2) to a perfect 8-0 record in Class 6A, Area 10.

Pelham, which currently has a 25-game winning streak, will host Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

The Panthers close out the regular season April 10 with a doubleheader at Oxford.