Spain Park baseball takes opening win in state finals

Members of Spain Park's baseball team celebrate after taking a win in the opening game of the AHSAA Class 6A state championship series. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Members of Spain Park’s baseball team celebrate after taking a win in the opening game of the AHSAA Class 6A state championship series. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY — In a season that has been marked by strong pitching, the Spain Park staff came up huge once again, as the Jaguars took a 2-1 win over Sparkman in the opening game of the AHSAA Class 6A state championship series.

The runs were hard to come by, as the Jags rode the arm of Mason Duke for a complete-game performance, and a walk-off single by Jon Sumner to take the win.

Spain Park wasted no time getting on the board, as Matt Berler scored on a Parker Hall single in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead.

Neither team scored again until Sparkman added a run in the top of the fourth to pull even at 1-1.  The Senators appeared poised to take control of the game in the top of the sixth, when they loaded the bases with one out. Duke was able to pitch his way out of the jam, escaping without surrendering a run.

With the game still tied in the bottom of the seventh, Alan Desantis led the inning off with a single to left. Dalton Brown and Matt Berler moved Desantis to third with a sacrifice bunt flyout, respectively.

Down to the last out, Sumner stepped in the box and fell behind in the count, 1-2, before drilling a walk-off single to right to score Desantis a take the 2-1 win.

“It was really exciting,” head coach Will Smith said. “You’ve got to tip your hats off to Sparkman. Fortunately, Mason kept us the game. He had a bunch of strikeouts, (which) elevated his pitch count.”

Duke finished the game with 13 strikeouts in the seven-inning effort, allowing no earned runs on seven hits while walking two.

Desantis went 1-for-3 with a run scored, as did Berler. Sumner and Hall provided the two RBIs for the contest.

The Jaguars move on to face Sparkman in game two of the series, held May 17 at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.