Chelsea goes 2-2 at Perfect Game HS Showdown with wins over Florida’s IMG Academy Gray, Providence School

Published 7:01 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Chelsea Hornets tested themselves against elite competition at the Perfect Game High School Showdown from Feb. 29-March 2 and picked up a pair of wins in the process.

Chelsea defeated the Providence School Stallions 3-0 on Friday, March 1 and the IMG Academy Gray Ascenders 3-2 on Saturday, March 2 to claim two victories over Florida teams and go 2-2 in the tournament.

To beat the Stallions, the Hornets had to bounce back from a tournament-opening loss to North Carolina’s Wesleyan Christian.

After Grant Hill claimed three strikeouts in the first inning of the Hornets’ game against Providence School, three walks and a passed ball allowed Chelsea to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.

In the next inning, the Stallions still had trouble commanding the ball and allowed the first three Hornets batters to reach base on two walks and a single. Aiden Craven was then hit by a pitch, making the score 2-0 and leaving the bases loaded with no outs.

Paxton Stallings hit an RBI single two batters later to increase the lead to three and put the game in the hands of the Chelsea pitching staff.

Hill took care of business on the mound as he completed a dominant performance. He racked up 13 strikeouts across 6.2 innings as he earned the win. Hill also pitched a shutout while allowing just two hits and two walks.

That ensured the Hornets would earn the 3-0 victory and set them up for a battle with IMG Academy Gray on the final day of the tournament.

Chelsea started strong with a one-out triple by Aiden Hughes in the top of the first, and Hughes came home on the next at-bat thanks to a passed ball, making the score 1-0.

IMG wouldn’t answer until the final play of the bottom of the second as it tied up the game on an error. However, the Ascenders went for two runs in one play and were punished for it as the second runner was out at home, ending the inning.

After Mack Breazeale was hit by a pitch to start the second, he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chase Lackey. He then came home to give Chelsea the lead again after Hughes hit an RBI single.

The third inning came and went without a run, but with two on and two out in the bottom of the fourth, IMG hit an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2.

The defenses dueled it out through the end of seven innings, forcing an eighth inning to decide the tournament contest.

The Hornets took care of business in the top of the eighth as a Breazeale single and an ensuing error put two runners on base for Hughes. After another Ascenders error, Breazeale scored from second to score the game-winning run.

Caden Mims earned the win with three shutout innings and two strikeouts while allowing just one hit and three walks. Jackson Price took home the save with two strikeouts in a scoreless inning of work against one hit.

Chelsea finished out the tournament with a 4-1 loss to American Christian. The Hornets will have a chance to resume their winning ways with a pair of games against Briarwood Christian, the first coming at home on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.