Spain Park uses three wins over weekend at PBR to top Vestavia Hills

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

The Spain Park Jaguars made the most of their southern road trip, going 3-1 in the PBR South AL Showdown from Feb. 22-24 with wins over Robertsdale, Mobile Christian and Baldwin County.

That paved the way for a big win when they came back to Spain Park High School on Monday, Feb. 25 as they defeated the Vestavia Hills Rebels in a tight 4-3 battle.

Spain Park started out strong with a one-two-three first inning that led to an RBI single by Gray to earn a 1-0 lead.

After the Rebels drew a pair of walks in the top of the second, they hit an RBI single, RBI double and scored on a passed ball to take a 3-1 lead.

However, the Jags capitalized on their own opportunities to tie up the game in the bottom of the frame.

Blevins hit a lead-off single to start the bottom of the second. While Spain Park suffered a setback with a strikeout, it was only brief as an error and a walk loaded up the bases.

Now facing two outs, Jones singled to right to plate two runs and tie up the score at 3-3.

Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Vestavia Hills surrendered an error and a walk with two outs to put a pair of runners on base, and the Jags capitalized on an error by the Rebels catcher on the next at-bat to score the game-winning run.

Bradley earned the win in the 4-3 victory behind five strikeouts in four innings against three runs, two earned runs, two hits and two walks. Langston secured the save thanks to three scoreless innings while striking out two batters and allowing just one hit.

They kicked off the southern swing with a 13-6 win over the Robertsdale Bears.

The Jags got going early with a pair of runs in the top of the first off a Chapman Blevins RBI single and a dropped third strike.

After a scoreless second inning, Spain Park got another run off a passed ball in the third inning to increase the lead to 3-0.

However, Robertsdale got a pair of runs back on two errors in the same play, and the Bears took a 5-3 lead after an RBI single turned into three runs because of another error.

The Jags recovered in the top of the fourth inning as James Battersby plated two runs on an RBI single to tie the game at 5-5.

Two batters later, Blevins hit a triple to clear the bases and take the lead, and Jackson Bradley made the lead 8-5 with an RBI single. An error and a bases loaded walk added two more runs to give the Jags a 10-5 lead to end the inning.

Spain Park scored another pair of runs in the top of the fifth off a Coleman Gray RBI double and an RBI groundout by Bradley.

Robertsdale scored on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the frame, but that was as close as it would get the rest of the way. The Bears hit the Jags with a pitch with the bases loaded to help Spain Park finish off the scoring and the 13-6 win.

Battersby went 3-4 in the win with four runs, two RBIs and a walk. Blake Patrick picked up the win and Connor Langston came in for the three-inning save.

The Jags had a much more comfortable outing the next day against the Mobile Christian Leopards in an 8-1 win.

Spain Park stormed out of the gate with four runs in the first inning. After a pair of leadoff hits, Battersby hit an RBI pop out to kick off the scoring.

A hit by pitch followed by four walks led to the next two runs, and the Leopards hit another batter with a pitch to put the Jags up 4-0 after the first.

Spain Park would add onto the lead in the fifth inning after an error, a hit by pitch and a single loaded up the bases with no outs.

A passed ball let Samuel Waldrop score, and within the same at bat, an error after Tyler Walker’s ground ball allowed Arnold Bush to come home.

An Evan Bistritz single and a Richard Moon sacrifice bunt led to the final Jags runs of the night, and despite a Mobile Christian RBI single in the top of the seventh, Spain Park earned the 8-1 win.

Moon took the win with four innings of scoreless baseball, earning three strikeouts against one hit and two walks. Battersby earned the save across three innings of work, surrendering three hits and an earned run but taking five strikeouts in the process.

The next day on Saturday, Feb. 25, a six-run first inning by Gulf Shores was too much to overcome. While the Jags scored four in the top of the fifth, a pair of two-run innings by the Dolphins in the fourth and sixth innings gave Gulf Shores the 10-6 win.

However, the Jags bounced back with a high-octane 12-10 win over the Baldwin County Tigers.

Battersby started the scoring for Spain Park with a one-out RBI single to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Baldwin County tied up the score in the top of the second and then took a 3-1 lead in the next inning off a fielder’s choice and an RBI double.

The Jags trailed until the fourth inning, when they overcame a lead-off pop out to earn a walk and a double to set up Rhys Jones.

Jones hit an RBI single to cut the deficit to one, and Aide Berke followed that up with an RBI single of his own to tie up the game at 3-3.

That preceded a massive fifth inning for both teams as they combined for 14 runs in the frame.

After Spain Park got the first two batters out, the Tigers hit a two-run triple, two-run single and plated another run off a hit by pitch to take an 8-3 lead and put the pressure on the Jags.

However, Spain Park brought the power in the fifth with three home runs to take the lead.

Gray wasted no time responding as he sent the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the fifth out of the park for a solo home run.

A pair of singles gave Bistritz a pair of runners to work with, and he launched a three-run home run after a pitching change to cut the gap to one.

The Jags then hit three straight singles, and the final run yielded an error that produced the game-tying run.

After a Battersby walk and a pop out to put his team on two outs, Matthew Widra launched a grand slam to take the lead in dramatic fashion.

That gave Spain Park a 12-8 lead, and despite surrendering a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, it closed out the game without letting Baldwin County come any closer than that to secure the 12-10 win.

After its hectic weekend, Spain Park will rest until the Perfect Game High School Showdown, where the Jags will face Florida’s IMG Academy Gray on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 11 a.m. at the Hoover Met.