Chelsea splits opening area series with Mountain Brook

Published 1:59 pm Friday, March 25, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MOUNTAIN BROOK – With losses in five of their last six games, including the area opener against Mountain Brook, the Chelsea Hornets were looking for a momentum boost to get them back on track.

That’s exactly what they got on Thursday, March 24, as the Hornets hit the road to Mountain Brook for the second of a two-game area series during the week.

After losing 3-2 to the Spartans on Tuesday, Chelsea reversed the roles two days later in a one-run win of its own.

Similar to the first game, which saw the two teams score one run each in the first two innings, the second game of the series was tied 1-1 through four innings.

That tie remained in place going into the top of the seventh, but that’s when the bats woke up.

In the top of the seventh, Chelsea grounded out in the first at bat, but a dropped third strike passed the catcher and a fielder’s choice that was beat out at second allowed the next two baserunners to reach safely.

Reid Gongwer then stepped to the plate and quickly broke the tie. On the second pitch he saw, Gongwer laced a double to right field that brought home one run for a 2-1 lead.

Another groundout put two down in the inning, but Andrew Floyd came through with a huge hit one at bat later. He hit a fly ball to left field that fell to the ground and drove home two with runners going on contact.

That gave Chelsea a very important 4-1 advantage, as Mountain Brook headed to the plate in the bottom of the seventh looking to stay alive.

The Spartans quickly found their rhythm as well, as the first three batters picked up hits, including a lead-off triple and back-to-back singles.

That brought home one run and put runners on first and second with no outs.

A strikeout did put the first out on the board after that, but a hit batter then loaded the bases for the Spartans, who all of a sudden had a chance to not just tie, but win the game with one swing of the bat.

Chelsea, however, was able to force two consecutive groundouts. One of them did drive in a run to bring the Spartans within one, but the final out was recorded after that to preserve a tight 3-1 victory.

The Hornets were led by Gongwer and Floyd. Both picked up one hit and two RBIs in the win, while Cody Fortenberry, Chris McNeill and Bryson Mormon each had one hit in the win.

Gongwer got the start on the mound and struck out 10 batters in six innings of work. Kaden Heatherly then got out of the jam in the final inning, striking out one and allowing no hits.

With the win, Chelsea improved to 8-8 on the season and 1-1 in area play after splitting with the Spartans.