Spain Park finishes runner-up at Hoover Buccaneer Classic

Spain Park's John Sumner swings at a pitch in the Hoover Buccaneer Classic baseball tournament. The Jags finished runner-up in to Cullman. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Spain Park’s John Sumner swings at a pitch in the Hoover Buccaneer Classic baseball tournament. The Jags finished runner-up in the tournament to Cullman. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

HOOVER—While many students in the area headed out of town for spring break, the Spain Park Jaguars made themselves at home, participating in the Hoover Buccaneer Classic.

While the event was hosted by crosstown rival Hoover High, it was Spain Park that stole the show on more than one occasion. The Jaguars took runner-up in the tournament, falling to Cullman in the finals, 10-4.

The opener saw the Jaguars take a 6-3 win over Hartselle in dramatic fashion, using a balk in the top of the fifth to score Matt Berler and take a 3-2 lead. The Jags added three more in the top of the seventh when Berler, Austin Haight and Brannan Martens scored to take the 6-3 win.

In the next game, the Jaguars won a nail-biter over the Station Camp (Tenn.) Bison, 5-4. After trailing for the first three innings, Spain Park got on the board when Berler took home on a fielding error to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. The Jaguars found themselves down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth when a Hunter Dawson single to left score Martens and Wes Holley to tie the game at 3-3. The Bison went up again 4-3 in the top of the seventh, but a Parker Hall single scored Berler to tie the game. A Dalton Brown single two batters later brought home Mickey Todd Forrest to give the Jags the win.

A 2-0 loss to Sipsey Valley followed, but the Jags bounced back to take a 3-2 win over Enterprise thanks to a Hall walk-off single. SPHS opened with a 2-0 lead after John Sumner scored on a Haight bunt and Berler scored on an error. The Wildcats tied it up in the top of the seventh, but Collin Walker crossed in the bottom of the tenth to give the Jags the win.

Next, Spain Park took wins over Hartselle and Hendersonville (Tenn.), 10-7 and 11-6, respectively, to reach the finals against Cullman.

The Jags fell behind 2-0 early, but tied the game in the top of the fourth on a Sumner triple to right that scored Dawson and Tristan Widra. Down 3-2 in the top of the fifth, Jake Wise scored on a wild pitch and Brown knocked Hall it to put the Jags up 4-3. Unfortunately for the Jags, the Bearcats exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the 10-4 win.

Despite the loss, Spain Park boasts a 23-12 record, and moves on to face Briarwood April 5.