Montevallo advances to quarterfinals of Class 4A playoffs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MONTEVALLO – The Montevallo Bulldogs are headed to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs after a second-round sweep of Straughn on Friday, April 29, that featured a tight one-run win and a dominant second win.

The Bulldogs came from behind in the opening game of the best-of-three series to pick up a 6-5 win and then followed that with a commanding run-rule 14-1 victory to cement the sweep and a spot in the third round.

In the opening game of the series, Montevallo grabbed the early 1-0 advantage thanks to an RBI double from Grayson Duckworth, but the lead was short lived.

Straughn followed shortly after with a four-run top of the third to take a 4-1 advantage and seemingly seize momentum.

Montevallo, however, responded with a big two-out rally in the bottom half of the inning.

With one on and two down, a second walk of the inning to Brady Baugh put two aboard.

That was then followed by four consecutive singles from Duckworth, Andrew Thompson, Wesley Burdett and Kemp Swords with each one bringing home a run to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 advantage.

After a quiet fourth inning, Straughn did even the score at 5-5 in the top of the fifth, but Montevallo came right back with one of its own in the home half of the inning.

With two down and two on base, Kemp Swords stepped to the plate looking for another big two-out hit. He got just that when he hit a ball to the left side that got through for an RBI single that not only put the Bulldogs in front but became the game-winning hit.

Straughn put two on in the top of the sixth but couldn’t capitalize.

Then, down to their final chance in the top of the seventh, Straughn went down in order, giving Montevallo the win.

Swords and Duckworth both finished with two hits and two RBIs in the win, while Thompson and Burdett added one hit and one RBI apiece.

Baugh gave up 11 hits on the mound, but struck out 10 in a solid outing to pick up the win. Duckworth got the final two outs of the game to preserve the victory.

With the confidence of a 1-0 series lead, Montevallo came out in game two and left no doubt.

Following two scoreless innings to start the game, the Bulldogs found a three inning stretch where they combined for all 14 of their runs.

Montevallo scored three in the third, seven in the fourth and four in the fifth to pull away for a 14-1 victory in five innings.

The highlight of the game came off the bat of Baugh, who added a grand slam to an already-impressive night. He finished the second game 3-for-4 with five RBIs to help lift Montevallo to the win.

Reid Cordes added four RBIs on two hits, while Swords, Brantley Burk and Luke Oden al had one hit and an RBI. Kial Cottingham added three walks, an RBI and three runs scored.

Swords finished off the night with a complete-game win on the mound featuring four strikeouts. He allowed one unearned run on two walks and five hits.

The Bulldogs will now host Gordo in the next round in a best-of-three series starting Friday, May 6.

The trip to the quarterfinals marks the first in Class 4A for Montevallo, while the Bulldogs will make their first trip to the third round since 2016. A win in the quarterfinals would send them to the semifinals for the first time since 2012.