Spain Park takes out-of-state wins over IMG Academy Gray, Loganville, Houston County

Published 7:05 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – Spain Park had an impressive showing at the Perfect Game High School Showdown as the Jags went 3-1 in their games from Feb. 29-March 2.

The Jags defeated the IMG Academy Gray Ascenders out of Florida to kick off the tournament before beating Georgia’s Logansville Red Devils. After a loss to North Broward Prep to start the final day of the tournament, Spain Park bounced back to defeat Georgia’s Houston County Bears.

Facing IMG Academy Gray in their first game on Friday, Feb. 29, Spain Park lit up the Hoover Met Stadium with nine runs as they capitalized on scoring opportunities given up by the Ascenders.

After the first two Jags batters of the game reached base on a single and a walk, an error allowed James Battersby to bring Aide Berke home for the first run of the game.

A pair of walks led to another run for Spain Park, and while it gave up a double play on the next at-bat, Battersby crossed home plate to make the score 3-0 after the first inning.

IMG had similar trouble in the second inning with allowing runners to reach base as two walks and a hit by pitch loaded up the bases with one out.

Spain Park drew another walk, but not before a passed ball let the lead extend to four. That kicked off four straight scoring plays, including an RBI double by Coleman Gray, RBI single by Matthew Widra and RBI groundout by Chapman Blevins, which put the Jags up 8-0.

The Ascenders picked up a pair of runs in response in the bottom of the second thanks to an error but couldn’t add to that in the inning.

In the top of the fourth, the Jags scored their final run of the game after Rhys Jones crossed home plate following a line out.

While IMG scored two runs in both the fifth and seventh innings, it couldn’t close the gap and Spain Park secured the 9-6 win.

Blake Patrick earned the win by pitching four innings and allowing just one earned run. He claimed three strikeouts against two runs, three hits and four walks.

The next day, the Jags rode a strong start to a dominant 13-1 win in six innings over Logansville.

Spain Park took advantage of a walk by Jones as Gray hit a two-out single that scored the opening run of the game.

The floodgates opened up in the third inning as a single and three walks led to the third Jags run of the game. A fielder’s choice brought home Jones for run number three, Battersby scored on a balk and Widra scored on a passed ball to take the lead to five.

The Red Devils got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third with an RBI single to cut the score to 5-1, but Spain Park answered in the top of the fourth as Jones and Gray hit RBI singles of their own, putting the Jags up 7-1.

Spain Park didn’t look back from there as it scored again on a passed ball in the top of the fifth before finishing off the game with a massive sixth inning.

With the bases loaded from a single, hit by pitch and walk with one out, Widra and Blevins drew back-to-back walks to plate a pair of runs. Samuel Waldrop reached base on an error to allow another run to score and trigger the run rule, Jackson Bradley drew a bases-loaded walk and Richard Moon hit an RBI single to make the final score 13-1.

After a 4-0 loss to North Broward Prep to start the final day of the tournament, the Jags bounced back with a 6-4 win over Houston County.

Spain Park hit a pair of singles with one out in the top of the first to allow Jones to score on a Gray groundout, giving his team an early 1-0 lead.

However, the Bears knotted up the score in the bottom of the frame off a sacrifice fly.

Houston County allowed three free batters to reach base in the top of the second, the last of which was Battersby with the bases loaded to put the Jags in front 2-1.

The score line held until the bottom of the fourth when the Bears took their first lead of the day. Back-to-back triples helped Houston County tie up the game, and an RBI groundout put it up 3-2.

Three straight runners reached base for Spain Park to start the fifth, setting up Widra to score a pair of runs on an RBI single and reclaim the lead for his team. Another run scored in the middle of Moon’s ensuing at bat to make the score 5-3.

A string of three hits for the Bears cut the deficit to one, but Gray’s RBI groundout in the top of the sixth put the finishing touches on the 6-4 win.

The Jags will return to action with a road rivalry game as they take on crosstown foe Hoover on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.