Montevallo baseball team picks up two big wins over West Blocton

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Battling for an area championship and a playoff spot, the Montevallo Bulldogs picked up a big area series win over West Blocton on Thursday, April 6.

After sweeping Fultondale two weeks earlier to start area play 2-0, the Bulldogs dropped the opener to the series with West Blocton to fall to 2-1, but they quickly bounced back two days later by winning the second game of the series and then finishing off doubleheader sweep by claiming the tiebreaker game shortly after.

Heading into their final area series with Oak Grove, Montevallo is now 3-1 in the area with a chance to cement a playoff spot with one win and the area title with two.

In a must-win situation in the first of the two Thursday games, the Bulldogs stepped up in a big way against West Blocton.

Trailing 1-0 after the top of the first, they put together a game-tying run in the home half of the inning and were then able to follow an inning later with a three-run effort that allowed them to play with a slight cushion early in the game.

Up 4-1 through the top of the fourth, Montevallo tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 5-1.

West Blocton, however, tried to put together some late magic with a run in the top of the sixth to cut into the deficit and make it 5-2.

But the Bulldogs responded with another three-run inning in the bottom of the sixth to add all of the necessary insurance, as the Tigers only saw one more run cross the plate in the top of the seventh.

That led to an 8-3 win and set up a tiebreaker game between the two teams shortly after, which had no shortage of action.

In a game that will likely have playoff implications, the two combined for 21 hits and 25 runs in a thrilling back-and-forth battle.

But it was a five-run seventh inning from the Bulldogs that made the difference.

Trailing 12-8 entering the bottom of the seventh, Montevallo looked to be in a tough hole to climb out of.

That hole got even deeper when a ground out and pop out from the first two batters put two away with nobody on base.

Montevallo, however, became the definition of a two-out rally from there.

Kemp Swords started it with a two-out double to right field. He scored shortly after on an error to make it 12-9, while Braden Douglas reached base safely on the same error.

A hit batter than put two aboard, setting the stage for a two-RBI double from Grayson Duckworth to not only bring Montevallo to within a run, but put the game-tying run on second.

A walk to Charlie Adams brought Keiston Ross to the plate, who continued the clutch play. After watching the first pitch for a ball, he hit a ground ball to the left side the scored Duckworth for the tying run.

Knotted at 12-12 with still two outs in the inning, a passed ball allowed the two baserunners to move into scoring position during the next at bat before a walk loaded the bases.

Then, during the at bat of Brantley Burk, another passed ball for West Blocton led to Adams sprinting home for the game-winning run in a wild comeback victory that saw the Bulldogs walk off with a 13-12 win.

Ross was big in the win, not only driving home the game-tying run, but finishing with four hits and three RBIs with three runs scored in five plate appearances.

Duckworth finished with two RBIs on one hit, while Douglas added an RBI on one hit. Swords Blaine Carstensen both added a hit in the victory as well.

On the mound, Connor Shores pitched the final 3 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts.