Briarwood rolls to back-to-back area wins over Pelham

Published 1:24 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

The Briarwood Christian Lions started off area play in dominant fashion as they swept away the Pelham Panthers in a pair of games on Tuesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 14.

Briarwood took the first showdown at Briarwood Christian School 9-3 before traveling to Pelham High School two days later and winning 11-3 to start area play with a 2-0 record.

In the second game of the series on Thursday, a pair of leadoff walks for the Lions led to the first run of the day via a groundout.

That 1-0 lead held until the top of the third when Briarwood loaded up the bases with one out. While the Panthers took their second strikeout of the inning on the next batter, Brayden Robertson plated a pair of runs with an RBI single to extend the lead to three.

Pelham clawed a pair of runs back in the bottom of the third after a leadoff walk and single turned into a pair of runs from a wild pitch and RBI single in the same at-bat. Andrew Petrock’s scoring hit in that sequence made the score 3-2, slashing the Lions lead to one.

However, Briarwood got right back to work after drawing a walk to lead off the fourth. A pair of singles by Houston Hartsfield and Will Clark loaded up the bases, and Jake Souders drew a walk to increase the lead to 4-2.

That kicked off four runs in five plays as Parker Daniels hit an RBI double, Seth Staggs hit into a groundout that brought home a run, and Britton Wagoner scored off a fielder’s choice by Robertson, making the score 8-2.

The Panthers cut the deficit to five in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out RBI single by Ryan Funderburk after the first two batters of the inning reached base.

The Lions capitalized on free baserunners in the top of the sixth to earn another pair of runs off an error and a bases loaded walk to put them up 10-3. Another Pelham error in the top of the seventh scored the final run of the game as Briarwood took the 11-3 win.

Jackson Barnes claimed the win in 6.1 innings, taking four strikeouts against one earned run, six hits and two walks.

Two days before that, the Lions took their first win over the Panthers, this time powered by 10 strikeouts from Souders.

The Briarwood starter claimed the win with six innings of work, taking the 10 strikeouts while allowing three earned runs, five hits and three walks.

However, to get there, the Lions had to overcome a strong start from Pelham that led to an early deficit.

After a scoreless first inning, the Panthers struck first after a leadoff double by Dylan Smith and single from Ryan Hurd led to a run scored off a Brock Isbell groundout.

Two batters later, Funderburk hit an RBI single to score both Lance Sulprizio and Matt Egan and increase the lead to 3-0.

Briarwood recovered from there and broke through in the third inning.

A Hartsfield leadoff double followed by an error and a walk loaded up the bases, and during a double play in the ensuing at-bat, Hartsfield crossed home plate for the first Lions run of the game.

Seth Staggs followed that up with a 2-0 single to score another run and make the score 3-2 in Pelham’s favor.

Briarwood then took the lead to close out the fourth with a Clark RBI single followed by a run off a wild pitch, putting it up 4-3.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third off two walks and a single, three batters were hit by a pitch to take the lead to four. A walk on the following at-bat made the score 8-3.

After a triple by Staggs to start the bottom of the sixth, Barnes hit an RBI single for the final run of the game, closing out the 9-3 win.

Staggs finished the game 2-3 with two runs, an RBI and a walk to lead the way for the offense. Will Clark had a pair of RBIs in a 1-3 day and Parker Sfakianos scored a pair of runs and had an RBI.

Briarwood will play a pair of non-area games on the road over the weekend against Hewitt-Trussville on Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. and Spain Park on Saturday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. before resuming area play against McAdory on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. at home.

Pelham will host Chilton County for its next game on Friday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Hillcrest on Tuesday, March 19 for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch.