Chelsea sweeps Stanhope Elmore, advances to round 2
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
MILLBROOK – The Chelsea Hornets became one of the first baseball teams from Shelby County to advance to the second round of the postseason after sweeping Stanhope Elmore on Friday, April 20.
Chelsea started fast in the first game of the doubleheader before relinquishing the lead shortly after. The Hornets then went on to storm back in front in the middle of the game before being forced to hold on for a one-run victory.
That seemed to spark a veteran team that had more talent than their counterpart, as the Hornets shut down Stanhope in game two thanks to a no-hitter from Emmitt Hudspeath who tossed 10 strike outs. A recap from each game is below.
Game 1: Chelsea 10 – Stanhope Elmore 9
Chelsea trailed 6-2 after two innings of the first game before scoring eight runs over the next three innings to storm in front with a lead of 10-6.
Defensively, the Hornets had to hang on over the final three innings as Stanhope scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth and one run in the sixth, but the Hornets’ Connor Ball was able to get out of the game by finishing off the final inning for the 10-9 win.
Chelsea actually struck first in the top of the first inning with two runs when Will Hayes and Clay DeWeese started with back-to-back singles. Later in the inning a groundout from Riley Watkins drove in the Hornets’ first run before a two-out double from Will Peacock drove in their second run of the inning.
After Stanhope scored six unanswered runs to take the lead, Chelsea finally answered back in the top of the third with four more runs.
Chelsea put together two singles and an error to start the inning. Peacock then drove in two runs, but it came at the cost of a double play to put two outs on the board.
The Hornets, however, weren’t done scoring as Carter Frederick doubled shortly after to drive in two runs and Nolan Forehand singled two batters later to drive in the game-tying run.
Chelsea took the lead for good in the next inning thanks to singles from B Horton and Riley Watkins. Later in the inning both scored when Frederick and Marcus Moody both walked with the bases loaded to give the Hornets an 8-6 lead.
They went on to score two more in the fifth to score their final runs of the game.
Watkins, Frederick, Hayes, DeWeese and Horton all had multiple hits in the game, while Frederick and Peacock had multiple RBIs.
After a struggle from Brendon Case on the mound, Cameron Gage and Ball pitched all seven innings allowing a combined four runs and four hits while striking out eight.
Game 2: Chelsea 10 – Stanhope Elmore 0
While the offense was just as good and consistent in game two, the Hornets got a much-needed boost from their defense and pitching in the second contest of the doubleheader.
After allowing six hits and nine runs and committing four errors in the first game, Chelsea responded by putting Hudspeath on the mound and the Hornets couldn’t have found a more perfect answer.
Hudspeath was locked in from the first pitch and went on to allow no hits while striking out 10 of the 20 batters he faced in the game. He did exactly what he needed to do and threw five hitless innings to give Chelsea the chance at a mercy-rule win, which the Hornets capitalized on.
After scoring a combined four runs in the first three innings, Chelsea went on to score six runs in the bottom of the fifth to finish the game short of a normal seven innings.
Hayes led Chelsea at the plate going 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, while DeWeese went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. William Root and Connor Griffin led the Hornets in RBIs with two apiece, while Watkins added three runs scored and one RBI of his own.
Chelsea will now host Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the second round of the playoffs starting Friday, May 4, at 5 p.m.