Coosa Valley sweeps away Crenshaw Christian to advance to semifinals

Published 2:26 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HARPERSVILLE – The Coosa Valley Rebels are rolling on to the AISA Class 1A semifinals after a dominant showing against the Crenshaw Christian Cougars in the quarterfinals.

Coosa Valley won game one 9-3 before taking a 13-3 victory in game two in a doubleheader on Thursday, April 25 at Coosa Valley Academy to move one step closer to a state championship.

In the first game of the series, the Rebels got an early scoring chance with an error and a hit by pitch putting two runners on and one out in the bottom of the first.

That started a run of four straight scoring plays for Coosa Valley, including three straight RBI singles by Jordin Rogers, Hunter Willis and Thomas Mullins. Jake McArthur rounded out the sequence with an RBI double to establish a 4-0 lead.

A walk loaded up the bases for the Rebels, and while the next batter struck out to put them in a two-out hole, an error on the next pitch plated two runs. Two pitches after that, Sam Setzer scored two more runs off an RBI single to make the lead 8-0 at the end of the inning.

Coosa Valley then extended that lead to nine in the bottom of the third when a lead-off triple by Rogers and a Willis walk gave way to a run after Mullins grounded into a fielder’s choice.

The third inning came and went without a run before Crenshaw got on the board in the top of the fourth. A sacrifice fly put the Cougars on the board with two outs and made the score 9-1.

The next inning, Crenshaw hit an RBI single to cap off a run of three straight singles, and later in the frame, an error cut the deficit to 9-3.

However, the Rebels shut down Crenshaw’s offense from there to take the 9-3 win.

Rogers finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Mullins went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run, Willis had a 2-for-3 game with a walk, run and an RBI and McArthur went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Konner Steele secured the win on the mound after he worked around one earned run, three total runs, 10 hits and a walk across all seven innings. He also recorded two strikeouts.

That six-run victory gave way to an even bigger win in game two.

After a one-out single by Setzer in the top of the first, the next batter got out, but Rogers launched a two-run home run to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.

However, the Cougars quickly got out of a two-out hole of their own to tie up the game at 2-2 off an error and a single.

The pressure then grew on Coosa Valley to respond in the bottom of the second after Crenshaw’s two-out RBI single capitalized on an error and a walk, which gave the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

The Rebels shortly erased that lead for good and pulled away with 11 unanswered runs.

After a Setzer single and Andrew Weaver walk to start the top of the third, a ground out by Rogers plated the tying run. Three pitches later, Willis hit an RBI single to give Coosa Valley a 4-3 lead.

A walk on the ensuing at-bat continued the rally, and after a pitching change, McArthur bunted into a fielder’s choice that saw him reach base and Braylon Smalls come home.

Two more walks gave the Rebels another run, and Coby Moore ended the sequence by sending McArthur home off a fielder’s choice to take the lead to 7-3.

Coosa Valley wasted little time building on that lead in the top of the fourth after Rogers followed up a Weaver lead-off single with an inside-the-park home run.

With those two runs making the lead 9-3, a Willis double and Mullins reaching on an error put runners on the corners for McArthur, and he hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 10-3.

That was followed by a walk and a fielder’s choice that left two on for Moore. An error on his ground ball to third brought Brycen Wilson home and put the Rebels up 11-3 to end the fourth.

Coosa Valley then got an opportunity to trigger the run rule in the top of the fifth when a hit batsman and Rogers single started the inning. A Willis ground out made the score 12-3, and an error after Mullins hit a grounder to third left Coosa Valley with a 10-run led.

Willis then stepped up to the mound and struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth to seal the 13-3 win and punch the Rebels’ ticket to the semifinals.

Those three strikeouts were half of Willis’ six strikeout total as he took the complete-game win in five innings. He didn’t allow a single earned run and worked around three unearned runs, three hits and a walk.

Rogers again led the offense with a 3-for-4 game with five RBI and three runs. Setzer went 2-for-4 with two runs and Willis also had a multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 performance.

Coosa Valley will host Wilcox Academy in the semifinals on Wednesday, May 1 with the winner booking a spot in the state championship game on Tuesday, May 6.