Spain Park forces deciding third game
Published 11:10 pm Monday, May 2, 2011
By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor
HOOVER — The Spain Park High School baseball team bounced back from a disappointing loss to Vestavia Hills in the opening game of a best-of-three series in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoffs to top the Rebels in the second game of a doubleheader May 2 and force a deciding third game in the series.
The Jaguars (36-10) will face the Rebels in the deciding third game May 3 at 6 p.m.
Spain Park fell to Vestavia Hills 4-3 in the opening game after a base-running miscue in the bottom of the sixth inning cost the Jaguars a chance at a comeback. With two runs added to the scoreboard in the inning and the bases loaded with only one out, senior Charlie McPherson was caught in between third base and home plate on a fly ball out. McPherson, the game-tying run, was tagged out at home plate to end the scoring threat in the inning.
Nathan Brock led Spain Park at the plate in the opening game with two infield singles. Austin Veteto finished 1-for-2 and drove in two runs.
Senior Chris Ellis took the loss on the mound after giving up four runs, including three earned runs, on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk in five innings.
McPherson allowed two hits with two strikeouts and a walk in two innings in relief.
Vestavia Hills took a 1-0 lead with one run on two hits in the top of the second inning.
The Jaguars tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Brock reached base on an infield single and stole second base. Brock moved to third base on one passed ball and eventually scored on another passed ball.
The Rebels added one run in the top of the fourth inning and two runs in the top of the fifth inning to push their lead to 4-1.
Spain Park cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Alex Close and Ellis led off the inning with back-to-back walks before Veteto came through with a two-run single. However, the inning ended when McPherson was tagged out at home plate on a fly ball out by Carter White.
The Jaguars responded to the opening-game loss with a 9-3 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.
Spain Park racked up nine runs on 16 hits in the victory.
Close earned the win on the mound after giving up three runs on eight hits.
Spain Park took a 1-0 lead in the top of the the first inning when Paul Angel singled to center field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Close. The Jaguars pushed their lead to 2-0 in the top of the third inning when Carter White singled to right field and courtesy runner Austin Walker scored on a single by Close.
Vestavia Hills tied the game at 2-2 with two runs in the bottom of the third inning before the Jaguars broke the game open with four runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Carter White and Mikey White each singled to center field before both scored on a two-run single to right field by Ellis. Close reached on a walk and scored on a Vestavia Hills error. Ellis scored on an RBI single by Marks Abernathy.
Spain Park added three insurance runs in the final two innings.