AHSAA Friday Baseball Highlights: Baker, Vestavia Hills, Hartselle sweep into next round

Brendan Hail

Baker rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning in Game 1 Friday night and went on to sweep rival Daphne 3-1, 7-2 in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs. The Hornets (24-10) will play Enterprise or Central-Phenix City in Round 2 next week. No. […]

Baker rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning in Game 1 Friday night and went on to sweep rival Daphne 3-1, 7-2 in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

The Hornets (24-10) will play Enterprise or Central-Phenix City in Round 2 next week. No. 6 Daphne finished 27-12.

RELATED: Friday’s scoreboard, Saturday’s games

Baker trailed 1-0 in the opener until Landon Vayda tied the game with an RBI single. Brandon Cain gave the Hornets the lead for good with a two-run single. Cain finished with 2 hits. Breyton Cornelius got the win on the mound. He allowed 3 hits and struck out 3. Eli Zielinski took the loss, allowing 3 unearned runs. Zielinski drove in the Trojans’ only run of the game.

Baker scored 4 runs in the top of the second in the nightcap and didn’t look back. Cornelius led the Hornets with 2 hits. Tyler Sirmon got the win with five innings of relief. He struck out 5 and allowed just 2 hits. Parker Lomax took the loss for Daphne. He had an RBI for his team.

Alma Bryant 3-4, Fairhope 2-6

Homestanding Fairhope took the lead for good with a 3-run fifth inning in Game 2 and salvaged a split with Alma Bryant.

Game 3 is set for 1 p.m. Saturday

Clayton Noblitt drove in a pair of runs for the Pirates and Jacob Conway had a pair of hits. Nolan Phillips and Jackson Hatcher each scored 2 runs. Miles Dew Johnson pitched 6.2 innings to get the win. He allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and struck out 8. Jackson Hatcher got the final out. Dylan Bradley, Tanner Ewing and Lane Goff all homered for the Hurricanes.

Bryant (19-16) took Game 1 after trailing 2-0 early. Landon Touchstone’s double in the top of the seventh provided the winning run. Carson English had a pair of hits and Miles Harbison drove in the other 2 runs. Bradley picked up the win in relief. William Hollon Brock and Hatcher had 2 hits for Fairhope.

Vestavia Hills 19-5, Tuscaloosa County 2-2

Vestavia Hills (22-15) scored 4 fifth inning runs to overcome a 2-1 deficit, earning the Game 2 win and sweeping the series against eighth-ranked Tuscaloosa County.

Pierce Hanna’s sacrifice fly scored Jackson Harris to tie the game then Thomas Watson stroked a 2-run single and Max Stewart added a sacrifice fly for the final run.

Aiden Black pitched 6 innings, allowing 4 hits with 4 walks and an earned run for the win and Barrett Harper pitched a perfect final inning for the save.

Trenton Shirley and Jon Hayden Raper had RBIs for Tuscaloosa County.

The Rebels scored 6 first innings runs in the Game 1 win as Watson was 2-for-3 with a grand slam, triple, 3 runs and 5 RBIs. John Paul Head was 1-for-2 with 3 RBIs, Hudson Walburn was 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs, Stewart was 2-for-4 with a double, 2 runs and RBI, and Harris was 2-for-3 with 3 runs.

Caleb Shofner pitched 5 innings, shortened by the 10-run Mercy Rule, allowing 4 hits and no earned runs while striking out 4.

Vestavia Hills plays Bob Jones in Round 2.


Hartselle 6-5, Mountain Brook 2-1

Top-ranked Hartselle advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals with a sweep at Mountain Brook.

In the nightcap, the Tigers led 5-0 after 5 innings with 2 runs in both the second and third and a single run in the fifth. Mountain Brook (22-13) lone run came in the sixth when Trent Wright drove in James Graphos.

Elliott Bray went 3-for-3 for Hartselle (35-4) with 4 RBIs and Brodie Morrow was 2-for-2 with 3 runs scored. Bray also got the win on the mound striking out 9 in 7 innings. He gave up 1 run on 6 hits.

Howell Polk took the loss for Mountain Brook, allowing 9 hits with 4 strikeouts. All 5 runs he allowed were earned.

In Game 1, Bray had a solo home run while Jo Williamson and Morrow drove in a pair of runs each for the Tigers, who scored 2 runs in both the first and second innings and added single runs in the sixth and seventh.

No. 7 Mountain Brook scored in the first and fourth innings with John Robicheaux delivering a solo homer.

Hartselle out-hit the Spartans 9-6 and both teams had 1 error.

William Turner went the distance to pick up the win, striking out 11 Mountain Brook batters. He walked 1 and gave up both earned runs.

Gabe Young took the loss, allowing 6 earned runs on 8 hits in 6.2 innings while striking out 10 with 3 walks. Evan Bibb gave up a hit and registered a strikeout.

Pelham 1-0, Saraland 0-10

No. 2 Saraland bounced back from a 1-0 loss in Game 1 with a 10-0 win in five innings in Game 2 at Pelham. The deciding game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.

After not scoring in the opener, the Spartans (31-6) pounded out 10 hits and 6 runs in the first two innings of the nightcap. They finished with 13 hits overall. Leadoff man Santae McWilliams was 3-for-4 with 4 runs scored and 3 RBIs. Matthew Milner was 3-for-3 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs. CT Englebert had 2 hits and Brooks Womble drove in 3. Evan Hilliard allowed just 1 hit and struck out 3. Zackary Egan took the loss for the Panthers (13-15-1).

Christian Pritchett handcuffed Saraland in Game 1 on just 3 hits. He struck out 3 and walked 2. Pritchett drove in the only run of the game with a third-inning double.

Hazel Green 11-2, Oxford 3-1

Tarpley Priest smacked a 2-RBI, 2-out double in the top of the seventh inning of Game 2 to give Hazel Green a sweep of No. 3 Oxford on the road.

Priest’s double came off Hayes Harrison, who threw 1 inning in relief of Carter Johnson. Johnson gave up 2 hits with 7 strikeouts and a walk. Harrison struck out 2 and walked 1.

Oxford’s run came on Sam Robertson’s solo homer in the bottom of the third.

Jackson Baeder allowed 4 Oxford hits with 2 strikeouts and 3 walks.

In the opener, the Trojans pounded out 16 hits with Joseph Medley bashing a home run, Jabez Sampson hitting a triple and a double and Baeder smacking 2 doubles and Blake Hall adding another.

Baeder was 3-for-3, Parker Hall went 2-for-2 and Andrew Edmonson was 3-for-4 for Hazel Green.

Jackson Hunter went 5.2 innings to pick up the win, allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts.

Oxford’s Chance Griner and Payton Watts had home runs and Tide Gann had a double.

Watts was saddled with the loss, allowing 11 runs – 9 earned – on 16 hits. He struck out 4 and walked 3.

Chelsea 11-0, Cullman 1-8

Cullman got the split when Easton Peed pitched a 3-hit shutout in Game 2 after Chelsea scored early in Game 1 to secure the win.

The deciding Game 3 is schedule for 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Peed needed only 84 pitches to earn the Game 2 win, scattering 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7 while the Cullman offense scored 7 runs in the fifth and another in the seventh. Chelsea committed 4 errors in the game.

Hunter Brooks had a triple and RBI while Hayden Stancil added a double and 2 runs. Riley Jackson and Zane Watwood had RBIs.

Chelsea scored in 5 of the first 6 innings, powered by 3 home runs to earn the Game 1 win, shortened because of the 10-run Mercy Rule, and Andrew Floyd pitched a 1-hitter with 7 strikeouts.

Campbell McCluney, Christian Kallaher and Reid Gongwer all homered in Game 1. Gongwer belted a 3-run shot, McCluney hit a 2-run homer and Kallaher led off the game with a shot to right field.

Gongwer and McCluney each had two hits while Tucker Garrett added 2 hits, including a double, and 2 RBIs.

Hueytown 3-4, Wetumpka 4-1

Fifth-ranked Hueytown (28-10) staved off elimination against eighth-ranked Wetumpka behind John Michael Pickens’ no-hitter in Game 2.

Game 3 will be played on Saturday at noon at Hueytown.

Pickens struck out 12, but walked 5 while allowing an unearned run in the win.

Michael Glover was 2-for-3 to lead the offense, including slamming a 2-run homer for the final two runs of the game. Aaron Wallace added a double and 2 RBIs, and Sylas Amick was 2-for-3 with a double.

The Indians earned the Game 1 win with a pair of sixth inning runs after trailing 3-2. Douglas Johnson scored the game-winner on a fielder’s choice after Noah Jones’ RBI-single tied the game.

Johnson was 2-for-3 with 2 runs and Jones had a pair of RBI singles. Davis Wells added an RBI.

Starter Jaxon Shineflew pitched 6-1/3 innings with 5 strikeouts and only 1 earned run for the win. Kyle Morrison got the final two outs to preserve the win.

Stanhope Elmore 6, Gulf Shores 4

Evan Duncan hit a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning as Stanhope rallied to topple No. 4 Gulf Shores in Game 1 of their series.

The second game was suspended due to a lighting issue and will resume at 11 a.m. Saturday. It is scoreless with 2 outs in the top of the first.

Duncan finished 3-for-4 with 6 RBIs in the opener. Chase Williams was 3-for-4 with 3 runs scored. Zach Stevens got the win and Duncan the save.

Mattox Johnson took the loss in relief. Marc Stephens and Johnson each had 2 hits for the Dolphins and Johnson drove in 2.


UMS-Wright 4-6, Andalusia 0-5

Olin Ward struck out the final batter of the series with the possible tying run on third and No. 8 UMS swept Andalusia on the road.

In the nightcap, the Bulldogs (18-11) led 6-2 entering the sixth inning. However, Andalusia scored a pair in the sixth, another in the seventh and had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run at first when Ward struck out Jake Coon to earn the save and send UMS on to Round 3.

Cole Blaylock went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for Kevin Raley’s team. Jackson Williford and Matthew Hedge each had 2 hits. Alex Sherman pitched 6 innings to get the win before Andy Purvis and Ward closed it out. Parker Adams had 3 hits for Andalusia. Ayden Amis took the loss.

Sutton Snypes shut out Andalusia on 3 hits in the opener. He struck out 6 and walked 2. Will Jordan drove in 2 runs. Logan Norris and Williford each had 2 hits.

UMS will play Holtville in Round 3.

Shelby County 9-4, Pike Road 4-1

Top-ranked Shelby County (30-4) got a pair of complete game wins to advance.

Jacob Fox pitched a 2-hitter in the series-clinching victory, striking out 7 and allowing an earned run while Connor Aderholt pitched the complete game victory in Game 1, striking out 3.

Aderholt was also 3-for-4 at the plate in Game 2 with a triple, double and 2 runs while Carter Sheehan, Logan Starnes and Fox all had RBIs.

The Wildcats surrendered all 4 Game 1 runs in the first inning then took the lead for good in the fifth with 5 runs for a 7-4 lead after scoring 2 in the first. The final 2 runs came in the sixth.

Matthew Pearson led the offense in Game 1 with 3 hits (3-for-4) and 3 RBIs.

Shelby County plays Headland in quarterfinal play.

Headland 2-7, Elberta 0-1

Headland held upstart Elberta to 1 run in two games.

In the opener, Reigh Jordan pitched a complete game for Headland. He gave up 5 hits and a walk and struck out 6. Brandon Williams was the tough-luck loser. He gave up 5 hits and 2 unearned runs, while striking out 5. Kaleb Edwards had 2 hits for Headland. Blaine White had 2 for Elberta. Headland scored both runs in the bottom of the sixth on Edwards’ RBI single and a wild pitch.

Tanner Taylor went the distance in Game 2, allowing 3 hits and 1 run and striking out 6. Mason Steele and Parker Littlefield each had 2 RBIs. White started and took the loss for Elberta.

Headland will face Shelby County in the quarterfinals.

Corner 4-1, Madison Academy 3-2

Sixth-ranked Madison Academy got a strong pitching performance from Josh Bybee to hold off No. 9 Corner and set up the deciding Game 3 on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Bybee allowed 5 hits with 3 strikeouts in the complete game victory and doubled to give the Mustangs their final run in the sixth. Holden Blake broke the scoreless tie with a run-scoring single ahead of Bybee.

Ethan Muncher homered in the seventh for Corner’s only run. Colin Daniel was 2-for-3 for the Yellow Jackets.

Gavin Brown’s two-strike, two-out sixth-inning double to left field proved the game-winner in the first contest.

Brown was 3-for-4 with a run while Brendan Conner was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI singles. Muncher also had an RBI single.

UAB commitment Daniel struck out 9 in six innings with an earned run to pick up the win and Brodie Dunlap pitched a hitless seventh for the save.


Montevallo 6-14, Straughn 5-1

Montevallo streaked to the series-clinching win with all 14 runs in the final 3 innings of the game, shortened to 5 innings by the 10-run Mercy Rule. The Bulldogs got a two-out game-winning single from Kemp Swords, scoring starting pitcher Brady Baugh for the first game victory.

Baugh was 3-for-4, including a grand slam and a double, with 5 RBIs in the Game 2 win, and Reid Cordes added 2 RBIs. Swords pitched the win, scattering 5 hits with an earned run and 4 strikeouts.

Charlies Adams was 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBIs in Game 1 while Swords was also 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs.

Baugh pitched 6-1/3 innings, striking out 10 for the win while Adams got the final 2 outs for the save.

Madison County 11-2, Jacksonville 4-12

Madison County will play host to the Golden Eagles at 1 p.m. Saturday to decide which team moves into the 4A quarterfinals.

The Tigers got back-to-back home runs in the opener in a 5-run second inning. Memphis Scott smacked a grand slam followed by Nolan Daversa’s solo shot. Madison County trailed 2-1 after one inning, went up 6-2 and then 9-2 after four. The Tigers scored a pair in the sixth and gave up 2 in the top of the seventh.

Scott also had a double and 5 RBIs in the win. Andre Towers tripled and doubled for Madison County and drove in 3 runs.

Killian Davis got the win, pitching 6 innings. He allowed 2 runs, struck out 5 and walked 2.

Dakoda Willingham homered for Jacksonville and had 2 RBIs. Taj Morris was 2-for-4 with a triple.

Nicholas Salmon took the loss, allowing 9 earned runs on 7 hits in 4 innings. He struck out 3.

In a 6-inning Game 2, Willingham struck out 11 Madison County batters and gave up just 2 hits. He walked 2 and went 1-for-3 at the plate.

The Eagles scored 5 runs in the bottom of the sixth to close out the game. Catcher Tito Canales homered and drove in 4 runs. Jim Ogle doubled and had 3 RBIs. Jackson Bonner had 2 RBIs.

Davis and Evan Cox had Madison County’s hits and Jake Thornton was saddled with the loss. Thornton gave up 7 runs – 4 earned – on 9 hits. He walked 2 and struck out 1 in 5 innings.

Etowah 10-0, Westminster Christian 1-2

Westminster Christian won Game 2 in their second round series with Etowah 2-0 to force a Game 3 behind a tremendous pitching effort from Austin McDonald.

McDonald shut out the Blue Devils, striking out 7 and only needed 80 pitches. Etowah’s Caleb Freeman pitched a great game as well, no-hitting the Wildcats and striking out 15. However, fielding error, three walks and two wild pitches with runners on third in the bottom of the fourth inning doomed the Blue Devils.

Freeman struck the first two batters in the fourth before a walk allowed Ben Goodwin to reach first. Jackson Lange’s pop fly was dropped, giving him first base, and courtesy runner Samuel Reed advanced to second. Freeman walked Landon Collier and Walker Thorsen to load the bases for Tyler Engle. A pair of wild pitches allowed Reed and Lange to score, giving Westminster a 2-0 lead.

Etowah dominated the opener, outhitting Westminster 9-4. The Wildcats were their own worst enemy in the field, committing 6 errors. Jameson Scissum got the win, going 5 strong innings and giving up only 3 hits and 1 run.

Game 3 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

— Jimmy Lay


Bayside Academy 4-7, Houston Academy 0-0

No. 5 Bayside Academy got a pair of shutout pitching performances to knock out No. 6 Houston Academy on the road.

Josh Gunther allowed 4 hits in the opener and struck out 13. He walked just 1. The Admirals scored 2 runs in the third and single runs in the fifth and sixth. Jake DeValk and Jack Woods had RBIs.

Brett Nestande followed Gunther to the mound in the nightcap. He also pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts. He gave up 5 hits and didn’t walk a batter. Gatlin Pitts had a triple and 2 RBIs. Woods was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs.

Bayside, last year’s state runner-up, will play Thomasville in the quarterfinals.


G.W. Long 5-11, Orange Beach 0-0

Class 2A No. 1 G.W. Long outscored upstart Orange Beach 16-0 in two games.

In the opener, Jackson Chancey struck out 11, allowed 5 hits and walked 5. Trevor Morris, Chancey and Tanner Johnston all had 2 hits. Tripp Carter took the loss for the Makos. He had 2 hits at the plate.

G.W. Long scored 6 runs in the first three innings of Game 2 and rolled to a five-inning win. Blayne McDaniel got the win. He allowed 4 hits and struck out 5. Chancey, Jackson Dasinger and Cullis Kelly drove in 2 runs each. Tre Bryant took the loss.

G.W. Long will play Vincent or Leroy in the quarterfinals.

Decatur Heritage 11-9, Section 1-3

The Eagles earned their way into a quarterfinals matchup with Westbrook Christian with the sweep of Section at home. Decatur Heritage won the first game in 6 innings, thanks to a 5-run sixth.

Section broke on top with a run in the first, but DHCA answered with 3 in the bottom of the inning. The Eagles added 2 in the fourth and 1 in the fifth.

Nash Rippen and Tyler Founds had home runs in the win. Cole O’Brien tripled and Bryant Sparkman and Shine Barron had doubles. O’Brien had 3 RBIs and Sparkman had 2 while going 3-for-3 at the plate. Bo Solley was 1-for-1 with an RBI.

O’Brien was the winning pitcher in the opener, allowing 1 earned run on 2 hits. He struck out 9 and walked 1.

Jacob Cooper took the loss for the Lions, allowing 9 runs – 5 earned – on 9 hits with 5 strikeouts and 6 walks over 5 innings.

Section again got on the board in the first inning in Game 2 with a single run before Decatur Heritage took the lead with 3 in the fourth. The Lions knotted the game with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. A 5-run sixth put the game away for DHCA.

The winners had 8 hits and 2 errors while Section had 4 hits and 4 errors.

O’Brien homered and had 2 RBIs and Sparkman was 3-for-3 for the Eagles, with a double and 2 RBIs. Solley was 2-for-4.

Sparkman picked up the win, allowing 3 runs – 2 earned – with 9 strikeouts and 3 walks. Founds pitched 2 innings, allowing no hits and striking out 4.

Jacob Stringer took the loss, allowing 6 runs – 4 earned – on 4 hits with 10 strikeouts and 4 walks.


Bayshore Christian 19-11, Brantley 0-0

Reigning champion Bayshore Christian outscored Brantley 30-0 on the road.

The top-ranked Eagles (23-5) pounded out 12 hits in a three-inning Game 1. The outburst included a 15-run third. John Malone and Cole Dean each drove in 3 runs. Mikael Bryant, Cooper Schultze and Jack Malone each drove in 2. John Malone and Cole Dean held the Bulldogs hitless in three innings.

John Malone, the reigning 1A Player of the Year, homered and drove in 3 more runs in Game 2. Bryant and Riley Malone each drove in 2. Streed Crooms struck out 5 in six innings of work.

Bayshore will play Berry or Choctaw County in the quarterfinals.

Millry 11-10, Maplesville 1-6

Owen Hendry’s 3-run homer broke open Game 1 for the Wildcats.

Jaylen Manuel got the win.

In Game 2, Lawson Whigham was the winning pitcher. Luke Whigham, Shooter Holyfield, Baylor Williams and Manuel all had multiple hits. Hendry pitched the seventh to seal the win.

Millry will play Sweet Water in the quarterfinals.


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