Thompson sweeps baseball doubleheader at Hueytown

FROM STAFF REPORTS

In a showdown of ranked teams, the Thompson High School baseball team defeated Hueytown 6-5 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at Hueytown.

The Warriors (20-7), who are ranked No. 7 in Class 6A, jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on for an exciting victory over Hueytown, the No. 2 team in Class 5A.

Thompson defeated Lutheran High School of Milwaukee, Wisc., 8-1 in the second game of the doubleheader.

In the opener against Hueytown, Thompson scored its first run in top of the second inning when Andrew Smith drove home Skylar Estell with a line drive double to left field off Hueytown ace pitcher Jameis Winston.

The Warriors scored another run in the top of the third inning. Ian Murray drew a two-out walk and advanced to third base on two wild pitches to Thompson cleanup hitter Alex Henderson. Murray scored from third as a third wild pitch hit the dirt and Thompson took a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth inning, Thompson scored three more runs to extend its lead to 5-0. Jonathan Keller, Chad Collum and Matt Haskins hit three consecutive singles to load the bases for Taylor Bria, who came through with a line drive single to right field to score Keller and Collum. Haskins later scored on another wild pitch.

Hueytown tied the game with 5 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Thompson quickly answered in the top of the sixth inning. Gus Williford led off with a double to right field. Skylar Estell sacrificed Williford to third base and Smith drove him home with a deep sacrifice fly to right-center field to give the Warriors a 6-5 lead.

Thompson relief pitcher Conner Gill retired Hueytown in order in the bottom of the sixth inning. Thompson failed to score in the top of the seventh inning despite singles by Andrew Smith and Jonathan Keller. Smith was called out at home on a double play to end the inning, which sent the game went to the bottom of the seventh with Thompson leading 6-5.

Gill struck out the leadoff batter, but the next two Golden Gophers reached base on Thompson fielding errors. Jake Hester relieved Gill and recorded a strike out for out number two before the Warriors intentionally walked Winston to load the bases. Hester then forced a pop out to Haskins in shallow center field to clinch the victory.

The Warriors pounded out 11 hits in the win.

Thompson was led by Bria, who went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. Smith finished 2-for-3 with a double and drove in two runs.

Starting pitcher Aron McRee went 3 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, including three earned runs, with three strikeouts and a walk.

Gill (2-1) picked up the win in relief, throwing 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. Hester picked up his third save of the year after going 2/3 of an inning of an inning with an intentional walk and a strikeout.

In the second game, Thompson exploded for six runs in the bottom of the first inning and coasted to an 8-1 victory over Lutheran.

Tyler Gamble doubled to right field, driving home Michael Schofield and Blake Gruber. Gill then doubled, driving home Gamble. Garrett Walters walked. Gill scored from third on a wild pitch. Clayton Jones singled to left, which drove in Walters. Patrick Bond walked and Austin Carter drove home Jones with a double to center field to give Thompson a 6-0 lead.

Thompson scored a single run in the bottom of the second inning. Adam McKenzie walked and came home when Gill reached on an error to push the Warriors lead to 7-0.

Thompson scored their eighth and final run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Gruber scored on McKenzie’s single to left field.

Trent Harper (2-2) started on the mound and got the win for Thompson after throwing four innings without allowing a run. Harper gave up three hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Skylar Estell pitched two innings in relief, allowing one earned run on two hits with three strikeouts. Henderson pitched the seventh inning with two strikeouts and a walk.

At the plate, Carter was 1-for-4 and drove in a run. Gamble, who drove in two runs and scored a run, was 1-for-4 with a double. Conner Gill, who drove in one run and scored one run, was 1-for-2 with a double. Jones was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.