No. 1 Thompson advances to 7A quarterfinals with opening-round sweep

Published 1:31 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – There was no let down in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs for the No. 1 team in the state on Friday, April 28, as the Thompson Warriors defended their home field with a sweep of Huntsville.

The Warriors, who entered the playoffs with wins in seven in a row and 10 of 11 games, picked up wins of 6-3 and 9-1 over the Panthers to complete the opening-round sweep and advance to the quarterfinals.

In the opening game of the best-of-three series, Thompson struck quick with runs in each of the first three innings.

The Warriors scored one each in the first and second and then two more in the third, while starting pitcher Landon Alton was also flawless in that span. Alton pitched five scoreless innings, which allowed the Warriors to build up a 4-0 advantage through the top of the fifth.

Then, in the bottom half of the fifth inning, Thompson added two more runs to make it 6-0 going to the sixth.

That became key, as the Warriors went on to withstand a three-run sixth from the Panthers, eventually finishing off a 6-3 victory.

Ethan Crook led the way at the plate in the win with two hits and two RBIs, while Peryn Bland added two hits and one RBI. Miles Mitchell also added two hits, while Drake McBride finished with a hit and two RBIs. Ben Pearman finished with an RBI, while Tucker Arrington and Braydon Smith both finished with one hit.

On the mound, Alton allowed three unearned runs and gave up seven hits and one walk, while he struck out six in the complete-game effort to give Thompson a 1-0 series lead.

The confidence from that win quickly carried over into game two.

Thompson once again wasted no time, this time scoring three runs in the opening inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead that was already going to be enough thanks to a dominant outing from Zach Wyatt on the mound.

Wyatt’s impressive outing saw him narrowly pitch a perfect game, allowing just one hit and one run with no walks. Just as impressive, he struck out 11 batters in what became a complete-game win to cement the series sweep.

His effort allowed Thompson to stay patient throughout the game and pull away late. Thompson eventually added one more in the top of the fifth, before finishing the game off with three in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Wyatt also helped his own case at the plate, leading the Warriors with a 3-for-5 game featuring two RBIs, while Arrington led the team with three RBIs and three runs scored on one hit and three walks.

Mitchell and Crook both finished with a hit and an RBI in the series-clinching win, while Bland, McBride and Smith all added one hit.

Thompson will now take on Chelsea or Bob Jones in the quarterfinal round next week.