Jags fall just shy of title series

Spain Park High School senior Paul Angel follows a pitch to the plate in the Jaguars' 4-1 loss to Oxford in the deciding third game of an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A best-of-three semifinal series May 12. (Contributed)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

The Spain Park High School baseball team ended its record-setting season one win shy of reaching the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A championship series following a 4-1 loss to Oxford in the deciding third game of a semifinal series May 12.

The Jaguars reached the Class 6A semifinals for the first time in school history. Spain Park also capped an unprecedented three-year run with 103 victories.

Spain Park coach Will Smith said the Jaguars’ seniors can take pride in helping the program reach new heights.

“It’s always tough win you don’t win it all,” Smith said, “but the good outweighs the bad. It’s a tribute to where we are as a program.”

Oxford jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Jaguars cut the deficit to 3-1 in the top of the third inning, but the Yellow Jackets added a run in the bottom of the fifth and held Spain Park scoreless during the final four frames.

Grant Veteto led the Jaguars offensively as he finished 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in one run.

Colton Freeman finished 1-for-2 at the plate and added a stolen base. Mikey White, Josh Close and Will McDonald each went 1-for-3 at the plate.

White, who shined in a complete-game victory a week ago in the Jaguars win over Pelham to clinch a berth in the semifinal series, allowed four runs on six hits and recorded three strikeouts in another complete game.