Spain Park shuts down Thompson in series finale
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer
ALABASTER— The stage was set for a showcase of AHSAA Class 6A baseball powerhouses on April 21, as Thompson and Spain Park each looked to win the third and final game of their first round playoff series.
Thompson, having lost in the first round to Spain Park last season, aimed to avoid another early exit, while Spain Park had its sights set on advancing once again.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the Jags stole the show, taking a 12-3 win on their way to the next round.
Spain Park jumped out of the gate strong, recording three runs before the Warriors had an out. Matt Berler and John Sumner scored on a Rodney Anderson double, while Austin Haight scored on a Parker Hall single to take a 4-0 lead.
The Warriors answered back in the bottom, as Jackson Cofer drilled a home run off of Tristan Widra over the right field fence to cut the lead to 4-1.
Neither team scored again until the top of the third when Sumner scored on a passed ball to give the Jags a 5-0 lead. Hunter Dawson and Mickey Todd Forrest added two more when they too scored on passed balls in the fourth and fifth, respectively.
Up 7-1 in the top of the sixth, the Jaguars exploded for five more runs, as Mason Duke, Berler, Sumner, Haight and Anderson all scored to make it 12-1 in favor of the Jaguars.
Just as all hope appeared lost, the Warriors’ offense caught a spark. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Brennan Pritchard singled to left. Dee Tolbert then drew a hit-by-pitch, and a batter later, Drew Avans loaded the bases with a single. Davis Cox was then hit by a pitch to bring home Pritchard. Cofer then singled to score Tolbert.
With the bases loaded, Robert Haskins drove a long fly ball to deep center, but Haight reeled it in to stop the rally.
Neither team scored again, and the Jaguars punched their ticket to round two with the 12-3 win.
“We swung (the bat) well early,” Spain Park head coach Will Smith said. “That was big. I was proud of the way we continued to tack on runs.”
Hall led the way at the plate for Spain Park, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Anderson had a hit, two runs scored and two RBIs.
On the mound, Widra threw a complete game, giving up three earned runs on nine hits, with no walks and four strikeouts.
Cofer paced the Warriors with two hits, a run and two RBIs, while Cox was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
With the win, Spain Park moves on to face Pelham in the second round of the playoffs. The series will start on April 25 in Pelham.