Briarwood offense stays hot against Pelham

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

PELHAM – Early in the 2017 baseball season, the Briarwood Christian School Lions have had by far one of the hottest offenses not only in Shelby County, but across the entire state. In their first five games, the Lions put up a combined 77 runs as they outscored opponents 77-13.

They have yet to score less than 12 points in a single game and that trend continued on Tuesday, Feb. 28, as Briarwood put up 14 more runs in a 14-6 win over the Pelham Panthers to move to 6-0 on the season.

The game started out rather slow for how great both of these offenses can be. In the first three innings, neither team saw more than one base runner per inning as no scoring threat was posed.

That quickly changed in the top of the fourth inning when Briarwood’s bats woke up. Hutson Hartsfield and Sam Strickland started the inning with back-to-back singles before Cole Steadman doubled to left field scoring Hartsfield. Steadman’s double was followed by a single and sac fly, which brought in two more runs to give the Lions a 3-0 lead with just one out in the inning.

After Kolby Kwarcinski struck out swinging, Michael Hiers and Sam Hamner both singled driving in one run apiece to give Briarwood a five spot in the inning after going off for six hits.

Pelham needed to put some runs on the board soon just to keep in touch with the Lions and in the bottom half of the inning they did just that. The Panthers didn’t quite have as explosive of an inning as Briarwood did, but thanks to four walks and single by Hunter Stowe, the Panthers were able to put up two runs on the board.

Briarwood was able to put one more run up in the top of the fifth thanks to a walk with the bases loaded, but Pelham was able to get out of a tough spot without allowing more than one run to come home.

The Panthers took advantage of the fortune and had the inning the needed in the bottom half. After three walks and two fly outs in the first five at bats of the inning, the bases were loaded for Chris Williams who drilled a ball over the left field wall for a grand slam. With one swing of the bat, Williams had tied the game at 6-6.

All of a sudden, Pelham had grabbed some momentum, but the Lions quickly put that to rest with seven runs behind just three hits in the top of the sixth. The Lions took advantage of five walks and a hit by pitch to take a 13-6 lead.

The panthers weren’t able to put another run across the plate the remainder of the game as they went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth and got just one hit in the bottom of the seventh. The Lions put up one more run in the seventh to make the final score 14-6.

Pelham was only able to grab six hits in the game while giving up 15 to the Lions. Eight different Briarwood players had a hit in the game including four multi-hit batters. Hamner had a monster day at the plate going 3-4 with four RBIs and one run scored. Hartsfield also had a strong day for the Lions going 3-4 from the plate with two runs scored.

Williams had four of the Panthers’ six RBIs with his grand slam. He went 1-2 in the game, while Stowe went 1-3 with the other two RBIs.