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AHSAA Class 2A State Baseball Championships G.W. Long Sweeps Class 2A Championships Behind Pitcher Collin Searcy’s No-hitter

     MONTGOMERY – Defending Class 5A state champion Russellville slugged 11 hits in the AHSAA Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series game at Paterson Field to beat Faith Academy 9-1 Wednesday night.
     The Golden Tigers (37-9) take the 1-0 lead into game two Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium. Faith Academy and Russellville will play game two of the best 2-of-3 series at 10 a.m., with game three set to start 30 minutes later if needed. The series is a rematch from last year’s Class 5A finals.
     Senior first baseman Skylar Holland had three hits and an RBI, junior shortstop Landon Ezzell had a double, single and two RBIs and senior Cody Greenhill  had a double and two RBIs for Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers. Colin Garrison also scored two runs, had two RBIs and one hit as the lead-off hitter for Russellville.
      Greenhill (12-2) did the rest, pitching a complete-game two-hitter and striking out 11 to get the win.
      Faith Academy (29-7), coached by Matt Seymour,  got its only run in the sixth inning when  Jackson Bell scored on Brooks Carlson’s sacrifice fly. Bell and Christian Waltman had one hit each for the Rams. Starting pitcher Reece Ewing (5-4) hurled 5 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits eight runs and struck out two to get the loss.
    The Class 6A Championship Series gets underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


CLASS 4A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES UMS-Wright Posts 5-1 Win in Game 3 To Clinch the 2017 Class 4A State Baseball Title

     MONTGOMERY – UMS-Wright High School’s Sam Plash was 4-for-4 with a double, three singles and two RBIs Wednesday night to lead the Bulldogs to a game three 5-1 victory over Madison Academy to clinch the AHSAA Class 4A state championship for the Bulldogs at Riverwalk Stadium. The state title was the second in a row for the Mobile school and their 10th overall.
      Plash, the Class 4A Series MVP,  and team collected 10 hits in the final game – quite a contrast to the six hits in game two when Madison Academy posted a 9-1 win to force game three. Winning pitcher Brant Dixon (6-3) scattered five hits, walked one and struck out two in a strong performance to get  the win.
      Jake Christa’s second-inning home run that hit the screen on the foul pole down the left-field line closed gave Coach David Pressley’s Mustangs some momentum as they closed a 4-run UMS lead to 4-1. Dixon, however, kept the MA batters off-stride with his breaking pitches and the Bulldogs defense did the rest to seal the championship.
       Senior Tanner Allen added a triple and single, Dalton Goff had two hits and an RBI and Skipper Snypes doubled in a run for Coach Kevin Raley’s Bulldogs (28-13).
       Madison Academy starter Sam King (7-3) gave up five hits and four runs in the first two innings to get the loss. Nate Buchanan hurled five strong innings of relief for the Mustangs (30-17) striking out three and just allowing four hits and one run. Madison Academy moved to Class 4A this season after winning the last three state titles in Class 3A.
       UMS-Wright took a 1-0 lead in the series Tuesday night with a 5-1 at Paterson Field. Madison Academy forced game three winning the first game at Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday 9-1.
      Winning pitcher Dylan Murphy (7-2) pitched five innings, allowed six hits and struck out five for the Mustangs. Cade Morson pitched the last two innings allowing no hits, no runs, walking four and striking out two.   UMS-Wright starter Dalton Goff (5-5) pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing 11 hits and all nine runs. He struck out one, walked two and hit three batters.
     Senior center fielder James Nix was 3-for-3 with a double, two-run homer and four RBIs. His blast in the fifth inning turned a 4-1 game into a 7-1 contest and the Bulldogs never recovered.
     Catcher Christian Cooper had a single and RBI to lead UMS-Wright.
    Russellville and Faith Academy will complete the Class 5A Championship Series Thursday morning starting at with game two at 10 a.m. Game three will follow if needed 30 minutes after completion of game two.
    The Class 6A Championship Series gets underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.



CLASS 4A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: UMS-Wright 5, Madison Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY – Conner Jednat tossed a 2-hitter over 6 1/3 innings to lead UMS-Wright to a 5-1 win over Madison Academy in game one of the Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series at Paterson Field Tuesday night.
    The series moves to Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday at 4 p.m., for game two – with game three, if needed, to follow 30 minutes later in the best 2-of-3 series.
    UMS-Wright (27-12), the defending Class 4A state champs, out-hit Madison Academy 10-3. The Mustangs, in Class 4A for the first time, won Class 3A the last three years.
   Jednat walked six and struck out seven. He was pulled in the seventh when he reached the maximum 120 pitches allowed. Tanner Allen got the last two out on a double-play to end the game. 
    Evan Hannah’s solo homer to left in the second inning gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. The lead extended to 5-0 with a single run in the third and fourth and two runs in the fifth.  Skipper Snypes and Allen had two hits each for Coach Kevin Raley’s team. Snypes scored two runs. He and Allen each had a double.
    Madison Academy (29-16) was led by Cade Morrison’s two hits. Losing pitcher Jake Christa (7-3) allowed all 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Reliever Evan Liddie gave up no hits over the final 2 1/3 innings.
    Russellville and Faith Academy will start the Class 5A Championship Series Wednesday night with a single game at Paterson Field. The two teams will close out their series Thursday at Riverwalk.

CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Gordo Sweeps Piedmont with 9-2 Win

    MONTGOMERY – Gordo High School pitchers shut out Piedmont for 11 2/3 innings in the AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship series, but needed a big rally to seal the Greenwave’s 9-2 win in Game 2 and sweep the series and state title at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Series MVP Thomas Langdon hurled a 1-hit shutout in Game 1 Monday night, and junior Nick Ponders shut out the Bulldogs (27-14) for 4 2/3 innings in game two before Coach Matt Deerman’s squad finally rallied for two runs to tie the contest at 2-2. Coach Jonathan Pate’s Greenwave (34-7) wasted little time responding. Gordo posted five runs in the bottom of the fifth – the big hit a bases-loaded triple by junior left fielder Davis Vails that played three of his team’s five runs in that frame. Two more runs in the sixth sealed the victory and the state title – the first baseball crown in school history.
    Pounders (6-0) finished with a six-hitter, allowed just one earned run, walked none and struck out three. Right fielder Collin Herring, another junior, was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Pounders was also 3-for-3 with two RBIs, senior shortstop and lead-off hitter Koy Chapman had three hits and scored twice. He had the game’s only double. Langdon also had a single and RBI. Center fielder Cabel Mullenix hauled in eight putouts in the contest including two sliding catches that robbed Piedmont of possible hits.
     Bailey Graves had two hits for Piedmont, coached by Mark Deerman. Michael Rogers added the big hit in the fifth for the Bulldogs, an RBI triple. Logan Pruitt, Taylor Morrow and senior hurler Taylor Hayes had the other hits. Hayes (10-5), the two-time Class 3A state football championship game MVP, pitched 5 1/3 innings. He allowed 13 hits had five strikeouts – finishing his senior year with 132 whiffs in 87 innings pitched.
    The 2017 Class 2A and Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series, which opened at Paterson Field Tuesday night, will play at Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday. The second game of the 2A series will be at 10 a.m., with the third game to follow 30 minutes later if needed. The Class 4A series resumes with game two at 4 p.m. The third game, if needed, will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 4 o’clock contest.
     All games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. Check it out at www.nfhsnetwork.com.

CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Sweet Water Wins Title with 8-7 Win in Game 3

    MONTGOMERY – Sweet Water High School junior Jonah Smith’s two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday lifted the Bulldogs (32-8) to a come-from-behind 8-7 win over defending state champion Decatur Heritage in game three to claim the 2017 AHSAA Class 1A state baseball championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Smith, named MVP of the series, pitched the game one victory Monday. He had a double and single in the final game and four in the series, none bigger than his one-out single to deliver the victory.
     Decatur Heritage (23-13) forced game three with a 2-1 win in the 10 a.m., game Tuesday. Grayson Wakefield (7-1) tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts to keep the Eagles’ repeat hopes alive. Jackson Parker had two hits in the win for Coach Steve Meek’s team. Smith had a single and scored Sweet Water’s only run. Sasha Smith (4-3) hurled five strong innings, allowing three hits but got the loss.
    Coach John Gluschick’s Bulldogs took control of the third game early to build a 6-1 lead heading into the the top of the sixth. Things begin to unravel for starter Braiden Broussard, however, as the Eagles clawed back to tie the game with five runs. Garrett Buckner’s double plated two runs for the big hit of the inning.
    The game stayed tied until the top of the eighth when the Eagles played one run – and had an insurance run nullified when the runner on third was called out for leaving the base too soon on a fly out to left for the third out.
    Sweet Water loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. Jonah Smith then drilled a single to left that plated pinch runner Trenton Sams and Shamar Lewis to end the game.
    Designated hitter Hunter Mendenhall was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI to pace the Bulldogs’ 12-hit attack in the final game. Chance Broussard also had three hits, including one to start the eighth-inning rally. Catcher Luke Davis also had an RBI double.
    Chase Joiner (3-0) got the final two out of the eighth inning to get the win for Sweet Water. Jeff Hunter (4-2) got the loss in relief. Dalton Davis also pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief allowing three hits, one run and striking out four for Decatur Heritage.

CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – Game 1 Gordo 9, Piedmont 0

    MONTGOMERY – Gordo High School senior right-hander Thomas Langdon fired a  1-hitter blanking  Piedmont 9-0 in game one of the 2017 AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Monday night.
    Game two of the best two-of-three series continues at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Southern League’s Montgomery Biscuits, Tuesday at 4 p.m., with game three to follow 30 minutes after completion if needed Tuesday night.
    Langdon (10-1) was masterful with his control, walking one and striking out four to notch his 10th win of the season. He got good offensive support from his teammates, especially lead-off hitter Koy Chapman and third hitter Collin Herring. Each had three hits. Chapman slugged a double and two singles and scored one run while Herring clubbed three singles, drove in three runs and scored twice.
    Nick Pounders also had a double and two RBIs and Cabel Mullenix had a single and RBI. Coach Jonathan Pate’s Green Wave (33-7), scheduled to be the home team in game two, pounded nine hits and plated four runs in the third and sixth innings to break the game open.
     Logan Pruitt (7-3), who came in 3-0 in the playoffs, pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing five hits and six runs. Four were earned. He also had two walks and struck out four. Easton Kirk got the only hit for the Bulldogs (27-13).
    The Class 2A Championship Series between Fayetteville and G.W. Long will play game one Tuesday at Paterson Field at 4 p.m., and the Class 4A Championship Series pairing Madison Academy and UMS-Wright, plays its first game at 7 Tuesday night, also at Paterson Field. Those series will conclude Wednesday at Riverwalk Stadium.
   All baseball games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network with Graham Dunn behind the mike. The week’s complete schedule can be found at www.ahsaa.com.



CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Sweet Water 4, Decatur Heritage 2

    MONTGOMERY – Sweet Water High School junior right-hander Jonah Smith hurled a four-hitter, walked none and struck out seven as the Bulldogs (31-7) beat defending Class 1A state champion Decatur Heritage 4-2 in game one of the 2017 AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Monday.
   Smith (14-2) saved his best for last after Coach Steve Meek’s Eagles (22-12) loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh inning. Smith struck out the next batter, gave up a long fly out to right center that plated a run and then closed out the game with a short fly out to send Coach John Gluschick’s Bulldogs into game two at Riverwalk Stadium Tuesday leading the best 2-of-3 series 1-0. First pitch Tuesday will be at 10 a.m. The third game, if needed, will follow approximately 30 minutes after game two ends. All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Decatur Heritage took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Grayson Wakefield got an infield single and scored on a double-play later in the inning. Sweet Water took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the third, added one run in the fourth and another in the sixth.  Shamar Lewis had two hits and scored a run to lead the Bulldogs. Matthew Mendenhall had a single, sacrifice fly and RBI and Braiden Broussard had a double and scored a run.
    Jeff Hunter, Jackson Parke and Carter Sample also had hits for Decatur Heritage.  Walker Jones drilled a towering blast to right center with the bases loaded in the seventh that right fielder William Huckabee hauled in despite a collision with center fielder  Sasha Smith. Huckabee was able to get the ball back to the infield in time to limit the damage to one run and Jonah Smith got the next out to end the game.
    Piedmont and Gordo played game one of the Class 3A Championship Series Monday night at Riverwalk in a game that started at 7 p.m. 

2017 CLASS 6A BOYS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Pelham 2, Cullman 0

     HUNTSVILLE – Pelham won its first state boys’ soccer championship in school history Saturday beating defending Class 6A state champion Cullman 2-0 in the 2017 Class 6A state finals at John Hunt Park to close out the 27th annual AHSAA State Soccer Championships.
     Pelham (22-6-1), coached by Patrick McDonald, got a big effort from  6A Championships MVP Braxton Jeffcoat, who scored one goal in both the semi-finals, showed great leadership in sparking the Panthers in the final match to the state crown.
    Armando Valencia  scored on a miraculous free kick midfield moon shot that climbed in the wind just over the outreached arms of Cullman goalkeeper Jaron Potter at the 20:47 mark. Pelham’s defenders kept pressure on the Bearcats (16-7-1) the entire match – keeping the ball on their side of the field most of the contest.
   Jose Jimenez scored a late goal to seal the win. The Panthers out-shot Coach Casey Harbin’s Bearcats 16-6. Potter registered seven saves for Cullman, and Pelham keeper Seth Torman had two.
    Cullman has two state titles to its credit, winning in 2002 and 2016.

Jimmy Lay



2017 CLASS 7A GIRLS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

McGill-Toolen Catholic 2, Vestavia Hills 0

     HUNTSVILLE – McGill-Toolen Catholic High school downed defending Class 7A girls’ state soccer champion Vestavia Hills Saturday at John Hunt Park to claim the Mobile school’s first state title in school history.
    Senior goalkeeper Eva Knapstein of McGill-Toolen (23-2), named the Class 7A State Championships MVP,  stopped six shots on goal to secure the shutout over the Lady Rebels (19-2-3). She allowed only one goal in the semifinals versus Fairhope.
     Vestavia (19-2-3), coached by Brigid Littleton, out-shot McGill-Toolen 11-8.
     The match was still tied at 0-0 at halftime, Sophomore Angelina Piccini’s goal at 47:33 McGill-Toolen a 1-0 lead and more importantly, gave Coach Cheryl Flores’ Jackets the momentum the rest of the way. McGill’s tough defense allowed Vestavia Hills only one shot on goal the rest of the match.
   Junior Chloe Martin scored an insurance goal in the final 10 minutes to seal the win.

Vestavia Hills’ sophomore goalkeeper Anna Woodson recorded three saves for the Rebels, who have four state titles to their credit including winning in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2016.
Jimmy Lay


2017 CLASS 6A GIRLS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Chelsea 2, Southside-Gadsden 0

     HUNTSVILLE – Chelsea High School goalkeeper Sabrina Lang stopped all four shots Southside-Gadsden could send her way Saturday and Lexie Duca anchored the Hornets’ strong defense in a 2-0 win over the Panthers in the Class 6A girls’ state soccer championship match Saturday at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park.
    Duca was named Class 6A State Championships MVP for Chelsea (17-6-2), coached by Jonathan Hammett. The sophomore scored one goal in the finals and turned in a strong defensive performance to help secure the shutout.
   Chelsea took a quick 1-0 lead on Duca’s goal 4:15 into the contest. She got an assist from Kailey Littleford at the 4:15 mark. Southside was able to force two corner kicks and 3 shots on goal down the stretch, but Lang, a senior, stymied the efforts with her play at the net.
    Chelsea was able to get off five shots on goal in the second half finally scored at the 76:54 mark when Madeline Gullien scored to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead.
     Southside head coach Tiffany Julien Cargill used two goalkeepers with Savanna Blackwell making two saves and Alley Rurgi notching four. Chelsea out-shot Southside 16-6 for the game.

      The win gave Chelsea its second state title and the first since 2012.