The North All-Stars beat the South 6-2, 6-4 Monday night to sweep the AHSAA North-South All-Star baseball series at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium.
The North improved its lead in the 19-year series to 20-11-1 with the doubleheader triumph. The baseball, softball and soccer all-star competition kicked off the 2015 Summer Conference and All-Star Week hosted by the AHSAA and its coaches’ arm, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.
More than 4,000 coaches and administrators are expected to attend the Summer Conference, which will conduct clinics and rules tests in a host of sports including baseball, softball, soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling and track this week. The conference culminates Friday with the AHSAA Sportsmanship luncheon honoring 121 schools that went fine and ejection free for the 2014-15 school year, and the annual Championship Coaches Banquet set for Friday night. The coaches’ school is being held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. The Fellowship of Athletes (FCA) coaches’ luncheon will be Thursday at noon.
Mortimer Jordan center fielder Walker McCleney earned North MVP honors for the North All-Stars collecting four hits, stealing three bases and scoring four runs in the two baseball victories.
He ignited a two-run rally in the top of the seventh inning in the second game with a two-out hit that broke a close 4-3 game. The South rallied for a run in the bottom of the seventh before reliever Bayley Blanchard of Piedmont came in to get the last out with the bases loaded to notch the save.
North starter Jackson Tavel, a strong left-hander from Corner High School, pitched three shutout innings, allowed two hits and struck out six to get the win. South starter Deacon Medders of Hale County struck out two in his one inning but allowed one run to get the loss.
McCleney singled, then stole second and third and scored on Clay-Chalkville first baseman Thomas Johns’single in top of the first inning to put the North ahead for good. Johns singled in the final runs in the top of the seventh to finish with two hits and a game-leading three RBIs. Will Acuff of Madison Academy added a triple and single and an RBI for the North and teammate Brenton Sanders of Northridge had two hits and an RBI.
Houston Academy catcher Brady Johnson had a double and single, scored two runs and drove in another in the second game. He stroked two singles in the first game to finish 4-for-5 and earned South MVP.
Chris Manley of Opelika also had a double and single for the South in game 2.
North 6, South 2
The South struck early with two runs in the top of the first inning but the North clawed back to win game one 6-2.
Dadeville’s Cal Jones led off with a single and Hunter Stokes of Spanish Fort followed with a for triple for the game’s first run in the opening inning off North starting pitcher Sonny Potter of Vestavia Hills. Stokes then scored on an infield out by Hale County’s Deacon Medders.
The North got one run back in the bottom of the first as Mortimer Jordan center fielder Walker McCleney hustled out an infield single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Huntsville infielder Graham Ashcraft’s single.
Chase Beggs of Hokes Bluff doubled in a run in the third to tie the game at 2-2, and McCleney, who was 2-for-2 with two runs scored, singled and scored on a wild pitch in the fourth. Ashcraft, who also went 2-for-2, tripled in the fifth and scored as the North built a 6-2 lead.
Alexandria’s Cody Dodd got the win with three innings of shutout relief. He allowed one hit and struck out three. Potter scattered five hits and struck out two in his three innings to start the game, and Ashcraft pitched a scoreless inning with one strikeout to close out the game.
Davis Daniel of St. James pitched the first two innings for the South striking out three. Northview’s Matt Lowery hurled the middle two innings and Banks Woodley of Jemison hurled the final two innings. Lowery got the loss.
Houston Academy catcher Brady Johnson had two hits for the South. Catcher Brenton Sanders of Northridge also had a double for the North, which out-hit the South 9-6 in the opener.
The baseball competition is one of five all-star events scheduled during the AHSAA Summer Conference this week in Montgomery. Softball was at Lagoon Park Monday night, and boys’ and girls’ soccer was held at Folmar Soccer Complex. Boys’ and girls’ all-star basketball games will be at 6 and 8 p.m., Wednesday at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome on the campus of Alabama State University, and the North-South volleyball all-star competition will be Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex.
All all-star competition is being live-streamed over the NFHS Network. Details can be found at www.ahsaa.com.