PLAYOFF UPDATE: Spain Park sweeps Northview in baseball playoffs
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
HOOVER— The Spain Park Jaguars baseball team came into the May 2 playoff matchup with Northview High on a roll; the Jags had swept Thompson and Pelham heading into the series. In fact, Spain Park headed into the series having yet to lose a playoff game.
They left that way too, sweeping the Cougars by a combined score of 16-3.
In the opener, the Jags turned to staff ace Mason Duke to lead the charge. Duke answered the call, posting a two-hit shutout, allowing three walks while tossing nine strikeouts across all seven innings.
While Duke tossed a gem, the Jaguar bats came up big again. In the bottom of the third, Spain Park held a one-run lead when Dalton Brown reached on an error. Matt Berler followed with a bunt single, and Jon Sumner bunted for a single as well. With the bases loaded Austin Haight knocked a double to bring Brown and Berler home, while Sumner and Haight scored on a Parker Hall single to make it 5-0 Spain Park.
Up 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Jags added three more when Hall, Alan Desantis and Brown all scored to bring the score to 9-0 in favor of Spain Park.
Duke held his ground on the mound, and kept the Cougars at bay to preserve the nine-run shutout.
Sumner led the way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run and three RBIs.
The second game of the series was closer, but Spain Park again showed no signs of weakness, taking a 7-3 win.
The Jaguars jumped out to the lead in the top of the first (reversed home/away designation due AHSAA playoff rules) when Berler scored on a misplayed third strike by Northview.
Northview tied the game in the bottom of the first, but Spain Park again used a big inning to take control of the game. Tied at one in the top of the third, Sumner scored on a Josh Rich single. Anderson scored on a fielding error, and Rich later came home on a passed ball. Mickey Todd Forrest scored on a Hunter Dawson sacrifice fly, giving the Jags a 5-1 lead.
Northview added two in the bottom of the fourth, but Spain Park responded with a two-run sixth to put the game out of reach, taking the 7-3 win.
Rich went the distance on the mound for Spain Park, tossing five strikeouts across seven innings. At the plate, Dalton Brown went 3-for-4 with a run.
The Jaguars move on to face Baker High on the road May 9.