Shelby County baseball standouts to meet in East-West consolation game

Nine high school baseball standouts from Shelby County came into the 67th annual Alabama Lions Club Sight Conservation Association’s East-West All-Star Baseball Classic at Samford University’s Joe Lee Griffin Field looking to showcase their talents June 4.

They’ll do so in the consolation game June 5 following losses by the Birmingham Metro and Central teams to all-star teams from around the state of Alabama.

The Birmingham Metro team, which featured six Shelby County players, fell to the South 5-1 in the semifinals. The Central team, which includes three Shelby County players, lost 4-3 in 10 innings to the North.

The Birmingham Metro team will face the Central team in the consolation game June 5 at 2 p.m.

The Birmingham Metro team had a solid start after three Shelby County pitchers helped the team take a two-hitter into the eighth inning.

Thompson rising senior Jonathan Keller started on the mound and gave up only one run on one hit with four strikeouts in three innings. Spain Park rising senior Austin Veteto didn’t allow a run on one hit with three strikeouts in three relief innings.

Thompson rising senior Jake Hester retired the first three batters he faced, including two strikeouts, in the top of the seventh inning to help the Birmingham Metro team remain in a 1-1 tie.

Hester ran into to trouble in the top of the eighth inning. He gave up four runs, including two earned, on three hits to surrender the lead.

Thompson rising senior Matt Haskins finished 1-for-2 at the plate with a single. Keller went 1-for-3 with a single.

Thompson rising senior Alex Henderson finished 0-for-2 with a walk. Briarwood Christian School rising senior Harrison Foster went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

Veteto finished 0-for-1 at the plate with a walk and a stolen base in the loss.

Calera High School senior Trent Posey finished 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in the game-tying run in the top of the ninth inning in the first game, but the Central team couldn’t complete the comeback in a 4-3 loss to the North in the tournament’s opening game.

Posey, who signed a baseball scholarship with Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., said he had butterflies in his stomach as he approached the plate with the game-tying run at third base. Posey blasted a fly ball to deep center field to plate the runner.

“I was nervous at first,” Posey said. “I knew I couldn’t bunt that good. I just hit it in the air and got the run in.”

Shelby County High School seniors Braten Dill and Kevin McNorton finished a combined 0-for-4 in the game, but the two players stood out in the field.

Dill gave up one run on two hits with four strikeouts and only one walk in two innings on the mound. McNorton fielded a sharply hit ground ball and turned a double play in the fourth inning.

Dill said playing against all-stars from across the state will help the Shelby County players as they continue their baseball careers next season at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. The two tried out for the East-West Classic after their junior seasons but didn’t make the final cut for the Central team.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” Dill said. “It will help us get prepared for the next step.”