Shelby County wins final three games of regular season against Jemison, Bibb County, Altamont

Published 2:46 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Wildcats finished the regular season on a high note as they won their final three games of the season against the Jemison Panthers on Thursday, April 11, Bibb County Choctaws on Monday, April 11 and on senior night against the Altamont Knights on Tuesday, April 16.

With the wins in their final three regular season home games at Shelby County High School, the No. 5 Wildcats finished 22-9 ahead of their first round series on Friday, April 19 in Columbiana against Rehobeth.

In its game against Jemison, Shelby County got out to a big 8-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Wildcats got their first two runs of the inning off an error and then scored off a Nathan Owen RBI single, wild pitch, Cale Blevins RBI single, Ben Gann RBI double and a bases-loaded walk.

Shelby County then extended that lead to 9-0 in the bottom of the second with a sacrifice fly off Owen’s bat.

The Panthers got on the board thanks to an error in the top of the third which made the score 9-1, and they added two more runs off a wild pitch and passed ball in the top of the fourth.

However, a Cooper Pennington single and Davis Ruston double got the Wildcats offense going again in the bottom half of the fourth.

Micah Morris then hit an RBI single to plate a pair of runs, and two batters later, a Gann RBI ground out and Samuel Carter RBI single extended the lead to 13-3.

With the run rule triggered, Shelby County earned three straight outs after a lead-off single in the top of the fifth to close out the victory.

The Wildcats took that momentum into their first game of the week against Bibb County.

After a scoreless first inning, Shelby County once again pulled away to an early lead, this time in the bottom of the second.

Ruston walked to start the inning and came home during the next at-bat thank to a stolen base, error and a sacrifice fly to put the Wildcats up 1-0.

Three straight singles loaded up the bases before Shelby County scored on four straight plays. A bases-loaded walk, Colby Matherson RBI single, Gannon Pharr RBI double and Pennington sacrifice fly took the lead to 6-0.

While the Wildcats were reduced to two outs, they stayed alive in the inning with a walk to set up two more scoring plays. Morris hit an RBI single and Owen scored two runs off an RBI double to make the lead 9-0 to end the inning.

Bibb County got on the board thanks to a wild pitch in the top of the third, but Shelby County restored that nine-run lead with a run off an error in the bottom half of the frame.

From there, the Wildcats held the Choctaws scoreless for the final four innings of the game to see out the 10-1 win.

That win gave Shelby County a three-game win streak heading into a special senior night on April 16 against Altamont.

After a hit batter and a Matherson double in the bottom of the first, a pair of sacrifice flies from Pharr and Pennington put the Wildcats up 2-0.

Altamont scored a run off an error in the top of the second, but Shelby County pulled away with a big bottom of the second.

A run off an error, a Matherson RBI single, Pharr three-run triple and Pennington sacrifice fly took the lead to 8-1 at the end of the inning.

The Knights earned their second run of the night off a sacrifice fly in the top of the third, but Matherson restored the seven-run lead with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the frame.

Altamont then had its best inning of the game in the fourth with three RBI singles to make the score 9-5, but that would be the Knights’ last offense of the game as Shelby County also scored its most runs in an inning during the fourth.

After the bases filled up on the first three batters of the inning, the Wildcats scored on the next two plays with an Owen sacrifice fly and Blevins two-run single. The next batter walked to set up a Carter RBI single to extend the lead to 13-5.

While the next batter struck out, Shelby County’s next four batters hit RBI singles. Pennington, Ruston and Morris all plated runs off their hits, and a run off a wild pitch during Morris’ at-bat made it a nine-run inning.

The Wildcats then got out of the top of the fifth with a one-two-three inning to seal the 18-5 run-rule win.

Shelby County will hope to extend its four-game win streak in its series against Rehobeth. Games one and two will be Friday, April 19 at 4:30 and 7 p.m. respectively with game three to played on Saturday, April 20 at 11 a.m.