Rebels top Chargers to force playoff

Coosa Valley Academy senior John Bullen safely slides into second base and watches Cornerstone Christian School senior Dylan Rodgers fire a throw to first base in the Rebels' 5-3 win over the Chargers in an Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A, Region 2 — Area 1 contest April 7. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

HARPERSVILLE — The Coosa Valley Academy baseball team’s schedule had only two scheduled meetings with rival Cornerstone Christian School before the season began.

The number of games between the two teams could grow to six before the end of the 2011 season.

Following a 5-4 win by Cornerstone Christian in the first meeting March 29, Coosa Valley evened the series with a 5-3 win over the Chargers in the second meeting April 7 to force a one-game playoff to determine the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A, Region 2 — Area 1 champion.

The deciding third game, which will determine which team will have home-field advantage in the playoffs should the two teams meet, will be held April 11 at a neutral site at Central Alabama Community College in Alex City at 4 p.m.

For Coosa Valley coach Bobby Hughes, it isn’t a question if the Rebels (27-4) and the Chargers (15-5-1) will meet — it’s a done deal in his mind.

“We’re both going to be there,” Hughes said. “We want to play at home in the playoffs.”

Coosa Valley, which jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, racked up seven hits in the victory.

“We’ve been swinging the bat well lately,” Hughes said.

Senior John Bullen, who reached base in all three plate appearances, led the Rebels’ offensive attack at the plate as he finished 2-for-2 and scored two runs.

Saxon Grimes finished 1-for-3 and drove in one run. Hunter Winslett went 1-for-1 and drove in one run. Stephen Cryer finished 1-for-1 and scored a run.

Myles Varner went 1-for-3 at the plate with a double. Preston Parker finished 1-for-3 at the plate.

Daniel Kennedy earned the win after giving up three earned runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and a walk in a complete game.

“Daniel is always going to give you a chance to win,” Hughes said. “He’s a competitor. He’s been in tight games and he knows what to do.”

Adrian Young, who drove in one run and recorded a stolen base, led Cornerstone Christian as he finished 2-for-4 at the plate. The Chargers finished with 10 hits in the defeat.

Sterling Reither finished 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in two runs. Chase Payne went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run. Auston Wingard finished 1-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs.

Stephan Young went 1-for-1 at the plate. Austin Davis went 1-for-2. Dylan Rodgers finished 1-for-4 at the plate.

Davis took the loss on the mound after giving up five runs, including three earned runs, on seven hits with a strikeout in a complete game.