Historic season comes to end for Oak Mountain

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

VESTAVIA – After splitting the first two games of a three game series on Saturday, May 6, Vestavia Hills and Oak Mountain were in the limelight two days later on Monday, May 8, as the two faced off in a rubber match at Vestavia Hills High School to determine who would advance to meet Hoover in the Class 7A semifinals later this week.

The Eagles took game one of the series 2-0 before falling 7-1 in game two in 12 innings. Joseph Hartsfield pitched 9.2 innings of one-hit ball in that second game, but the offense just wasn’t clicking, which set up the winner-take-all game on Monday evening. It was a spot the Rebels were familiar with after losing the first game to Sparkman in the first round, which set up for them having to win two consecutive games to advance.

Vestavia came through in the clutch yet again as they took down the Eagles 8-3 to end Oak Mountain’s historic season and advance to the semifinals against the Bucs.

That historic run by Oak Mountain included a new school record for wins with 33, a record they set three different times after breaking the previous record of 30 that the Eagles set a year ago. It shows the transformation they have made in just two seasons under head coach Derek Irons.

Irons, who is up for coach of the year for the second consecutive year in the county, has turned this team into a championship contender the last two years making the playoffs in both and the next step for he and his team is no doubt a state championship in the near future.

In the decisive game three, Vestavia came out and played like their season was on the line from the get go. After a fairly easy top of the first on the mound, the Rebels came to the plate in the bottom half and used a leadoff single and error to put two on with no outs. A sac bunt moved the runners over and a sac fly brought in the game’s first run.

That was followed by a Rebels double to bring in another run, then a walk and a wild pitch brought in run number three as they took a 3-0 lead after one inning of play.

The Eagles answered with one in the top of the second thanks to a double from Dylan Fraser, which was followed two batters later by a single from Logan Sheaffer, which drove in the Eagles first run of the game.

Vestavia answered right back with another sac fly in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead back to three at 4-1.

Oak Mountain came back and started the top of the third with their best inning of the game thanks to a double and back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs. That only led to two runs crossing the plate, however, as the Rebels escaped the inning with a 4-3 lead.

The Eagles couldn’t get much going the remainder of the game as Josh Stevens settled in on the mound to pitch a scoreless last four innings. Vestavia, however, added four insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 8-3, which ended up being the final.

Ethan Holsombeck led the way at the plate for Oak Mountain in his last game as an Eagle going 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Sheaffer also went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while John McDonald went 2-for-3 with no RBIs. Mason Williamson, Garrett DeAraujo and Fraser also picked up a hit.

Photos available at www.shelbycountyphotos.com