Thompson undefeated at summer baseball tournament

Thompson High School baseball coach Pat Hamrick is hoping to develop depth within his pitching staff in preparation for the 2011 season.

After rising senior Jonathan Keller, a University of Alabama commitment, posted a 1.35 earned run average this past season, Hamrick is excited about his staff ace returning.

Another left-hander is trying to challenge Keller for that role. Fellow rising senior Mason Morris had a career night in helping the Warriors win a summer baseball tournament June 16 at Spain Park High School.

Morris struck out 13 in a complete game to lead Thompson to a 7-3 win over Oak Mountain in the semifinals. Morris gave up only two earned runs on four hits with three walks in the pitching gem.

“Mason had command of three pitches,” Hamrick said. “He threw the baseball extremely well.”

Morris was second on the team with a 2.33 earned run average and posted five wins, the most by any Thompson pitcher last season.

Morris, who struck out Oak Mountain rising junior and Auburn University commitment J.D. Crowe twice, said the strong outing against the Class 6A, Area 10 foe Eagles gives him confidence heading into his senior season.

“That was huge,” Morris said. “Offensively, we shut them down. It gives me a lot of confidence to do it against one of the best teams in our area.”

The Warriors defeated Grissom in the championship game to capture the tournament title against a field of some of the top high school teams in the state

The teams used wooden bats during two days of pool play before changing over to aluminum bats for tournament play.

Morris received plenty of run support from his teammates in the win over Oak Mountain. Thompson scored seven runs on eight hits in the victory.

Ian Murray led the way with a two-run triple in the sixth inning. Blake Gruber had a two-run single in the third. Jonathan Keller, Taylor Bria and Conner Gill each drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the win.

Murray finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored. He reached base in all four plate appearances.

J.D. Crowe finished 1-for-3 with two stolen bases and a run scored for Oak Mountain. Richard Greene had an RBI single. Conner Pinegar finished with a double and scored a run.

The Warriors scored four runs in the first inning in the win over Grissom. Gruber had an RBI double, while Keller and Matt Haskins each had an RBI single in the opening inning.

Aron McRee picked up the win on the mound.

The Warriors defeated Vestavia Hills, Spain Park, Thompson, Oak Mountain and Alexandria during pool play and finished with a perfect 8-0 record during the tournament.

Thompson, Oak Mountain and Spain Park fielded two teams each in the tournament The Warriors’ second squad lost to Grissom in the quarterfinal round.

Oak Mountain’s second team lost to Alexandria in the opening round of the tournament.

Spain Park’s No. 1 entry finished pool play undefeated and received a bye in the opening round before falling to Sparkman in the quarterfinals. The Jaguars’ second team fell to Oxford in the opening round of the tournament.