MONTGOMERY – Decatur Heritage clawed back from an 8-0 deficit in game 2 of the AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday to beat J.U. Blacksher 9-8 and then captured the school’s first state title winning game 3 of the series 3-2 in the best-of-three finals.
Grayson Wakefield (11-3), who started game two for Coach Steve Meek’s Eagles (28-13) and didn’t get out of the first inning, regrouped in game three pitching six strong innings to get the championship game win. He scattered four hits and struck out six while throwing just 72 pitches in his final appearance.
Class 1A State Championship Series MVP Parker Sparkman, who had an outstanding series defensively at third base and went 5-for-8 with three RBIs over the three games, relieved in the seventh but gave way to reliever Jeff Hunter after yielding a run and loading the bases with no outs. Hunter faced the minimum three batters to pitch out of the jam closing out the game to get the save.
Sparkman had one hit and an RBI in game three. Hunter, who manned shortstop when not pitching, had a double and single and scored two runs. Dakota Hunter also had a single and RBI for the Eagles.
Tanner Weaver (3-2) pitched a complete game going six innings in the finale for J.U. Blacksher (26-13). He allowed six hits and struck out three. Lead-off hitter Cooper Dean, who was 5-for-9 in the series, and DH Seth Metheny each had a single and RBI for the Bulldogs.
GAME TWO: Decatur Heritage 9, J.U. Blacksher 8
Coach Justin Mixon’s Bulldogs (26-12) posted eight runs in the top of the first inning but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when the Eagles (27-13) loaded the bases with no outs. Before the inning was over, Coach Steve Meek’s team had posted seven runs. Decatur Heritage took the lead with two runs in the fifth to force the final game.
Wyatt Farrior had a double and single and two RBIs for the Eagles. Third baseman Parker Sparkman also hit a triple and single and made two outstanding defensive plays for Decatur Heritage. Starting pitcher Grayson Wakefield also had a double and two RBIs, and catcher Trace Lentz had a two-RBI single.
J.U. Blacksher was led by Hunter Tuberville’s triple, single and three RBIs, Cooper Dean’s two hits and two RBIs, and Tanner Brooks’ single and two RBIs.
Decatur Heritage’s Clay Shaw (7-5) hurled 6 2/3 innings in relief allowing no runs, four hits and striking out four to get the win. Dillan Baldwin (3-1) pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and got the loss. He allowed one earned run, three hits and struck out two.
Madison Academy (33-15) and American Christian (31-5), which played the first game of the 3A Championship Series Wednesday night at Paterson Field, will play game 2 of that series at 4 p.m. Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.