Chelsea pulls off dominant sweep to advance to round 2

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – Winners in 10 of their 11 games heading into the postseason, the Chelsea Hornets entered their opening-round playoff matchup with Huffman confident, and it quickly showed on the field.

In a best of three series, the Hornets hosted the Vikings on Friday night, April 23 in a doubleheader and made sure the series didn’t go a third game by scoring 31 combined runs in two shutouts to complete the series sweep and advance to the second round.

With the two victories, the Hornets remained one of the hottest teams in Class 6A with wins in 12 of their last 13 games.

Chelsea won both games in run-rule fashion, picking up the two wins in shortened five-inning games.

In the opening game, the Hornets scored one run in the opening inning but followed that with an onslaught of six in the second, five in the third and four in the fourth to total 16 runs before ending it with a scoreless effort defensively in the top of the fifth.

The Hornets combined for 10 hits in the win with eight different players picking up at least one.

Evan Jones and Kaleb Hester both had two hits, while Hester led the team with three RBIs. Jones added one RBI, while Connor Ball, Campbell McCluney and Cole Kennedy all had two RBIs.

In addition to that, Carson Camper had one RBI, while Adam Reaves, Chris McNeill, Christian Kallaher and Kaden Weldon each added a hit.

On the mound, Ball was flawless again with a perfect game through four innings. He struck out eight and didn’t allow a walk, hit or run. Rickey Whited came in to pitch the final inning and struck out two batters and put Huffman down in order for the win.

In the second game, Chelsea was just as dominant, using 12 hits to score its 15 runs. The Hornets scored three in the first, four in the second and third, and two in both the fourth and fifth.

This time, 11 different players had at least one hit. McNeill led the way with two hits, two walks and two runs scored, while Reid Gongwer led the team with three RBIs on one hit.

Ball added two more RBIs, while Kennedy also added two RBIs. Reaves, Hester, Jones, Weldon and Parker Stallings all had one RBI in the win.

Brock Hill pitched a flawless first three innings with seven strikeouts and no hits, giving up just one walk, while Camper closed out the final two innings and was just as perfect striking out four and giving up no hits, walks or runs.

Chelsea will now get set to take on either No. 3 Cullman or Hazel Green in the second round.