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Class 1A: Game 2 Decatur Heritage 9, J.U. Blacksher 8

     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 morning to beat J.U. Blacksher 9-8 and forced a third and final game in the best-of-three finals.
      Game 3 got under way at 12:15 p.m. Thursday at Riverwalk.
      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.

     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 3A: Game 1 American Christian 3, Madison Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Senior Deacon Medders picked up his 12th win of the season Wednesday night scattering six hits and striking out nine as American Christian beat two-time defending state champion Madison Academy 3-1 in game one of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Wednesday night.
    The two teams meet again Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 7 p.m., if needed.
     Medders (12-1) also provided some offensive punch for Coach Eric Smallwood’s Patriots (32-5), who remained unbeaten at 9-0 in the 2016 state playoffs. Lead-off hitter Grant Atkins, who finished 4-for-4 and scored all three of his team’s runs, doubled to start the game and scored on Medders’ double off the left-field wall to give American Christian a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  Medders plated Atkins again in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly to notch a much-needed insurance run.
      Atkins, who had two stolen bases to up his season total to 26 in 26 tries, swiped third in the top of the third inning and scored American Christian’s other run on Caleb Squires’ single. Squires finished with single and double. Atkins also had an outstanding catch from his center field position to rob Luke Mordecai of a sure extra-base hit in the second inning.
      Dylan Murphy had two hits for Madison Academy 33-16) and Trey Owens had a single and RBI.  Starting pitcher Jake Christa (8-2) pitched six solid innings allowing seven hits, one earned run and striking out seven for Coach Mike Good’s Mustangs.
     J.U. Blacksher (26-11) takes a 1-0 edge into Thursday’s 10 a.m. second game of the Class 1A State Championship Series versus Decatur Heritage (26-13) at Riverwalk Stadium. 
     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 1A: Game 1 J.U. Blacksher 6, Decatur Heritage 3

     MONTGOMERY –  J.U. Blacksher bunched six of its 11 hits together in the bottom of the fifth inning overcome a 3-1 deficit and posted a 6-3 victory over Decatur Heritage in the first game of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Wednesday afternoon.
    The two teams meet again Thursday morning at 10 a.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 1 p.m., if needed.
     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.

     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Trailing by two going into the bottom of the fifth, Coach Justin Mixon’s Bulldogs (26-11) rallied to score four runs and take a 5-3 lead thanks to hits by Tanner Brooks, Charlie Scruggs, Sage Baggett, Dillan Baldwin, Hunter Tuberville and  Tanner Weaver.
      Brooks, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, also doubled to start the sixth inning and scored an insurance run on a single by Cooper Dean to close the scoring.
      Starting pitcher Sage Baggett (8-2) struck out the first two batters he faced and hurled six solid innings to get the win for J.U. Blacksher. He allowed five hits and struck out four.  Dean relieved Baggett in the top of the seventh inning and needed just eight pitches to seal the win. He got the Eagles to ground into a double-play and then got the last out of a pop fly in foul territory behind third base for the save. Dean finished with two hits and an RBI and Scruggs drove in two runs for Blacksher.
     Wyatt Farrior (8-6) got the loss for Decatur Heritage (26-13).  Parker Sparkman had two hits and an RBI to lead the Eagles.

Class 2A: Game 2 Mobile Christian 6, Fyffe 0 (Mobile Christian wins Championship)

      Junior pitcher Bryson Hatcher hurled a four-hit shutout in game two of the AHSAA Class 2A State Baseball Championship Series Wednesday and Mobile Christian beat Fyffe 6-0 to claim its second straight state title at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium.
      Hatcher (10-2) threw only 95 pitches, walking one and striking out five, to get the mound win for Coach Talley Haines’ Leopards (26-12).  He picked up all the runs he would need when catcher Ethan Hearn singled in two runs in the second inning to give the Leopards a 2-0 lead.  Senior Hunter Avery, who pitched the 6-5 game one win Tuesday night, had two hits including an RBI double to earn 2A Championship Series MVP honors. He struck out 10 Tuesday and also slugged a two-run triple.
     Chris George also had two hits and an RBI Wednesday, and Grayson Williams slugged a double and scored two runs.
      Fyffe (21-12), coached by Brad Thomas, was led by Brady Carson’s double. Starter and losing pitcher Brant Rowell (7-2) had a single as did Ethan Jones and Tyler Ashley.   Rowell hurled the first two innings allowing three hits, two runs and striking out one.  Carson pitched the final five innings in relief yielding eight hits, four runs and striking out three.
     The Red Devils reached the 2A state baseball finals for the first time in school history. The Fyffe football team was 2015 Class 2A state football runner-up and also the 2014 Class 2A state football champs.
     J.U. Blacksher (25-11) meets Decatur Heritage (26-12) at Paterson Field at 4 p.m. as the Class 1A Championship Series gets underway Wednesday afternoon.  Defending state champion Madison Academy (33-15) takes on American Christian (31-5) in the first game of the 3A Championship Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Paterson Field.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Mobile Christian 6, Fyffe 5

      Sophomore second baseman Trent Avery delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Mobile Christian (23-12) to a 6-5 win over Fyffe (21-11) to take a 1-0 lead in the AHSAA Class 2A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Tuesday night.
    The two teams meet Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 1 p.m., if needed.
     J.U. Blacksher meets Decatur Heritage at Paterson Field at 4 p.m. as the Class 1A Championship Series gets underway Wednesday afternoon, and defending state champion Madison Academy takes on American Christian in the first game of the 3A Championship Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Paterson Field.
    Winning pitcher Hunter Avery (7-4), Trent Avery’s older brother, struck out 10 while scattering nine hits for the Leopards of Coach Talley Haines.  He also drove in two runs with a triple in the second inning. He was thrown out at the plate, however, trying to stretch the hit into an inside-the-park home run.
     Fyffe, coached by Brad Thomas, got a solid pitching performance from Will Mashburn (6-2). He went the distance yielding 10 hits and striking out three in 6 2/3 innings.  Red Devils catcher Jase Jones had three hits and drove in two runs – two coming on a double in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 5-5. Cyle Collins and Tyler Ashley also had two hits for Fyffe.
    Trent Avery and Sam Ladner also had two hits each for Mobile Christian. Luke Jones also had a single and RBI for the Leopards.

Class 2A: Game 1 Mobile Christian 6, Fyffe 5

      Sophomore second baseman Trent Avery delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Mobile Christian (23-12) to a 6-5 win over Fyffe (21-11) to take a 1-0 lead in the AHSAA Class 2A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Tuesday night.
    The two teams meet Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 1 p.m., if needed.
     J.U. Blacksher meets Decatur Heritage at Paterson Field at 4 p.m. as the Class 1A Championship Series gets underway Wednesday afternoon, and defending state champion Madison Academy takes on American Christian in the first game of the 3A Championship Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Paterson Field.
    Winning pitcher Hunter Avery (7-4), Trent Avery’s older brother, struck out 10 while scattering nine hits for the Leopards of Coach Talley Haines.  He also drove in two runs with a triple in the second inning. He was thrown out at the plate, however, trying to stretch the hit into an inside-the-park home run.
     Fyffe, coached by Brad Thomas, got a solid pitching performance from Will Mashburn (6-2). He went the distance yielding 10 hits and striking out three in 6 2/3 innings.  Red Devils catcher Jase Jones had three hits and drove in two runs – two coming on a double in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 5-5. Cyle Collins and Tyler Ashley also had two hits for Fyffe.
    Trent Avery and Sam Ladner also had two hits each for Mobile Christian. Luke Jones also had a single and RBI for the Leopards.



2016 North-South Softball & Baseball All-Star Teams Announced

MONTGOMERY -- All-star squads for the 2016 North-South boys’ baseball games and the North-South girls’ softball contests have been selected.
     A total of 72 outstanding juniors--18 on each team--were chosen from nominations submitted by high school coaches from across the state to participate at the 20th annual AHSAA Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Games competition in Montgomery July 18-22, according to an announcement by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
     The North-South baseball doubleheader will be at Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday, July 19, with the first game set for 4 p.m. The second game will following 30 minutes after its conclusion at approximately 6:30 p.m.  Lagoon Park will host the North-South softball all-star games at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, on the same day.
     The AHSADCA All-Star Games also include in-state games in soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball and football. The 56th North-South All-Star football game will be played Thursday night, July 21, at Cramton Bowl.
      The AHSAA Summer Conference is a week-long event that includes sports-specific clinics and special sessions for coaches, principals, athletic directors, cheerleading coaches and officials. Also, an All-Sports Equipment Expo and other related activities are scheduled throughout the week.
     Among the week’s highlights will be the Sportsmanship Luncheon honoring all schools that have not had an ejection or fine during the 2015-16 school year and the Championship Coaches Awards Banquet that includes the naming of the 2015-16 Making A Difference Award Recipients ,Coaches of the Year and the AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year. Both banquets will be Friday, July 22.
      Concluding the week will be the annual Officials Awards Banquet set for Saturday, July 23, at noon.
      Coaches for the North Softball All-Stars are John Simmons of Hayden and David Bryant of Pleasant Valley.  Kent Chambers of Bob Jones is the administrative coach. South coaches are Rachael McClure of Prattville and Barry Roberts of Robertsdale. Elba’s Susan Barnes is administrative coach.
     Coaching the South Baseball All-Stars are Owen Davis of Daphne, Matt Ream of Rehobeth, Michael Dismukes of Holtville and Evan Braun of Beauregard. Ken Whittle of Trinity Presbyterian will serve as administrative coach. North coaches include Lee Hall of Randolph, Josh Fowler of Muscle Shoals, Shelton Stalls of Moody and Will Smith of Spain Park. Keith Lucky of Saint James is administrative coach.
     In last year’s softball competition, the South won the first game 4-3 and the North the nightcap 1-0. The North leads the series 23-10-3.
      In the 2015 baseball competition the North won 6-2, 6-3 to sweep the series and extend its series record to 20-11-1. Both all-star competitions began in 1997.   
The rosters are below.

2016 SOFTBALL ALL-STAR ROSTERS


 





NORTH ALL-STARS







Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Kiara Akles

Cleburne County

P/3B

5'4

Alysia Anderson

Clements

SS

5'2

Shelby Booker

James Clemens

3B

5'1

Briana Chappell

Tuscaloosa County

1B/OF

5'9

Destinee Cole

Pinson Valley

SS

5'8

Kalli Daniel

Russellville

SS

5'6

Laken Distefano

Central - Florence

P

6'0

Zoie Emrick

Buckhorn

P

5'5

Alaina Hampton

Coosa Christian

C/SS

5'10

Brooke Ingram

Fort Payne

OF

5'3

Timberlyn Shurbutt

Alexandria

SS

5'5

Kendall Sides

Sumiton Christian

CF

5'7

Chandler Sparkman

Decatur Heritage

P/IF

5'10

Kailey Stoker

Sparkman

P/OF

5'4

Mary Katherine Tedder

Spain Park

SS/2B

5'8

Abby Tissier

Hoover

C

5'8

Rylee Waldrep

Oxford

P

5'5

Annie Willis

Westminster Christian

P

5'11

COACHES








John Simmons

Hayden



David Bryant

Pleasant Valley



Kent Chambers

Bob Jones (Administrative)










SOUTH ALL-STARS







Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Josie Page

Washington County

SS

5'6

Hailee Powell

Faith Academy

C

5'4

Mallory Druhan

Spanish Fort

SS

5'5

Delaney Thomas

Baker

2B

5'6

Alex Wilcox

Brantley

P

5'10

Talia Truitt

Rehobeth

OF

5'4

Cydney Sizemore

Dothan

P

5'3

Amya Myhand

Northview

OF

5'4

Shelbie Burbage

Prattville Christian

SS

5'3

Reagan Watkins

Lamp

P

5'7

Hannah Dailey

Saint James

3B

5'8

Schylur Edwards

Alabama Christian

OF

5'7

Abbey Latham

Demopolis

C

6'0

Layton Murphy

Marbury

P

5'3

Katie Young

Opelika

2B

5'2

Kelsie Cornelius

Wetumpka

C

5'10

O'Neil Roberson

Oak Mountain

1B

5'8

Bailie Barnes

Beauregard

P

5'10









COACHES








Rachael McClure

Prattville



Barry Roberts

Robertsdale



Susan Barnes

Elba (Administrative)

 

2016 BASEBALL ALL-STAR ROSTERS








NORTH ALL-STARS









Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Manning Early

Gardendale

IF

5'11

165

Cameron Furr

Hewitt-Trussville

P

6'2

195

Will Battersby

Spain Park

P / OF

6'2

175

Luke Murphy

Fayetteville

C

5'6

205

Taylor Hayes

Piedmont

P / OF

5'11

205

Nick Swisher

Moody

IF

6'0

190

Nate Lloyd

Oxford

IF

5'10

175

Koy Chapman

Gordo

IF

5'11

175

Hunter Hill

Deshler

C

5'11

180

Cody Greenhill

Russellville

P

6'3

205

Grayson Wakefield

Decatur Heritage

P

6'0

165

Carson Hall

Randolph

P

6'0

175

Owen Lovell

Cullman

OF

6'4

225

Tanner Burns

Decatur

P

6'0

205

Drew Talley

Huntsville

P

6'2

175

Jordan Anderson

James Clemens

OF

6'1

195

Jared Howell

Sparkman

C

5'11

185

Caden Lemons

Vestavia Hills

P

6'5

175






COACHES










Lee Hall

Randolph




Josh Fowler

Muscle Shoals




Shelton Stalls

Moody




Will Smith

Spain Park




Keith Lucky

Saint James (Administrative)

SOUTH ALL-STARS









Player

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Joseph Booker

Miller, T. R.

P

6'2

190

Thomas Brittain

Miller, T. R.

C

5'11

180

Chad Bryant

Thomasville

P

6'0

200

Tanner Allen

UMS-Wright

P

6'0

175

Sam Plash

UMS-Wright

1st

6'3

234

Christian Waltman

Faith Academy

C

6'0

185

Hayden Maxey

Davidson

SS

5'10

160

Leslie Thompson

McGill-Toolen

OF

6'2

175

Jacob Free

Brantley

P

6'4

208

Grant Akridge

Elba

OF

6'4

220

MacKenzie Hicks

Long, G. W.

IF

5'10

175

Jack Knight

Rehobeth

P

6'2

220

Santiago Garcia

Enterprise

C

5'10

205

Will Huckabee

Sweet Water

OF

6'3

195

Brady Greene

Saint James

P

6'2

190

Rodricues Williams

Tallassee

P

5'8

160

William Jordan

Auburn

SS

5'10

165

Evan Baber

Central - Phenix City

SS

5'10

180











COACHES










Owen Davis

Daphne




Matt Ream

Rehobeth




Michael Dismukes

Holtville




Evan Braun

Beauregard




Ken Whittle

Trinity (Administrative)




Central Board Approves Baseball Pitch Count Rule Beginning the 2017 Baseball Season

     The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved changing the current pitching rule for baseball from innings pitched to a pitch count, beginning with the 2017 AHSAA baseball season.
     The action was taken at the Central Board of Control quarterly meeting at the AHSAA office Wednesday.
      Lee Gann, head baseball coach at Mountain Brook High School and the chairman of the AHSAA Baseball Coaches Committee, asked the Board to adopt the change. The Baseball Coaches Committee was unanimous in its recommendation, Gann said. Alabama becomes the first state association in the NFHS’s Section 3 to adopt the pitch count as a way to regulate arm safety and becomes one of the first in the nation.
     The current AHSAA Pitching Rule, adopted in 1989, states that pitchers can pitch up to 14 innings in one week but must rest three calendar days once pitching seven innings in one day or makes two appearances over consecutive days.
      The Pitch Count Rule adopted will require a varsity pitcher to rest three calendar days after throwing 76 to 120 pitches in one day. The maximum pitches allowed for a junior-varsity pitcher will be 100 and for junior high or middle school 85. 
      “After spending time with the (AHSAA) Medical Advisory Committee last February, we understand just how important limiting pitches thrown is to the health safety of a player’s arm,” Gann said.  “No two innings are the same.”
       AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese lauded the Central Board’s decision as well as the leadership of Gann and the Baseball Coaches Committee.
      “Our Medical Advisory Board made it clear that limiting the number of pitches thrown is much more important than innings pitched,” Savarese said. “We think this rule change is a landmark decision by the Central Board. Health and safety is a chief concern in all our sports, and this is a positive move toward making baseball safer for our student-athletes.”
     Complete details of the Pitch Count Rule will be posted at www.ahsaa.com in the coming days.
     The Central Board also adopted the Baseball Coaches Committee recommendation to change from the current 18 playing dates during the regular season to 28 total games for Classes 1A through 6A and 32 games in Class 7A. In addition, games played during a school’s defined “Spring Break” will not count toward total number of games allowed. The change will begin in the 2016-17 school year for the 2017 season.

In other board action Wednesday:

§  Denied an eligibility appeal from St. Paul’s Episcopal High School.

§  Heard a presentation from Chris Nix and Michael McGreevey of Knight-Eady concerning the upcoming 2015 Super 7 State Football Championships and approved the Super 7 projected expenses.

§  Approved an increase in Summer Conference registration and Expo exhibitor fees, Hall of Fame banquet ticket prices, Principal and AD Conference registration fees and AHSADCA Coaching Card fees beginning with the 2016-17 school year.

§  Tabled a vote on the baseball playoff rotation for the 2016-17 school year until after the new classification has been determined.


AHSAA North-South Baseball North Sweeps South 6-2, 6-3 in Baseball All-Star Series

    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.
   
Game 1
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


North-South Baseball Game 1 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 in the 19th AHSAA North-South All-Star Series at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium Tuesday. Game 2 was still underway Monday night.
    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  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 North improved to 19-11-1 in the series with the win, which dates back to 1997.
    The baseball competition is one of five all-star events scheduled during the AHSAA Summer Conference this week in Montgomery. The all-star games are managed by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). 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.

Rules Changes Approved for High School Baseball, Softball

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 7, 2015) – Rules changes for the 2016 baseball and softball seasons were made at rules committee meetings last month in Indianapolis. Those changes were subsequently approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors.

BASEBALL

Beginning with the 2016 season, umpires will be required to issue a warning to coaches before restriction to the bench/dugout or ejecting them as part of a new penalty progression to promote preventive officiating.  

The revision to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty was one of two changes recommended by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee at its June 7-9 meeting.

Previously, issuing a warning to an offending coach was optional for umpires, who will now restrict to the bench/dugout or eject coaches who commit a violation after previously being warned for a minor offense. However, coaches can still be ejected on a first offense if it is deemed to be major.

Also part of the modification to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty, coaches who receive a written warning (Rule 10-2-3) will be restricted to the bench and/or dugout for the remainder of the game.

 “The new rule change has initiated a penalty progression, starting with a written warning, restriction to the bench/dugout and subsequent ejection from the contest,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.

The changes to Rule 3-3-1 Penalty will help to de-escalate contentious situations and allow coaches to dictate their status in the game by their behavior, Hopkins said.

“A successful game official practices preventive officiating, and this new penalty progression will allow the official to issue penalties that give the coach the opportunity to remain in the game and teach his players.”

The other change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee is an addition to Rule 3-3-1. Article “q” will state that a coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not “have any physical contact, spitting, kicking of dirt or any other physical action directed toward an umpire.” The addition of article “q” serves to clarify other behaviors that would result in an ejection from the game, Hopkins said.

“Bad behavior that is being imitated from other levels has no place in education-based athletics and will not be tolerated,” Hopkins said. “If we are to continue to use sport to teach life lessons, then we have to ensure that appropriate behavior and conduct are modeled from those adults in the role of coach/teacher.”

In addition to the two rules changes, the Baseball Rules Committee approved three Points of Emphasis for the 2016 season. Points of emphasis are developed by NFHS rules committees and should receive special focus and attention by officials, coaches, players, fans and other leaders within the high school setting.

Points of Emphasis developed by the Baseball Rules Committee for the 2016 season are as follows:

 

 

  1. INTERMEDIATE PENALTIES/RESTRICTION TO THE BENCH/DUGOUT
  2. PROPER CATCHER’S EQUIPMENT
  3. SPORTSMANSHIP – CELEBRATIONS AROUND OR NEAR THE PLATE AND POST-GAME EJECTIONS

 

SOFTBALL

In softball, one rule change was recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at its June 15-17 meeting. In the new Article 4 of Rule 2-57, the committee provided a standard definition of a “projected” substitute.

Rule 3-3-3 prohibits the use of a projected substitute, which is now defined in the new article as “a player who does not immediately participate in the game.”

“There has been some confusion among both officials and coaches about substitution procedure,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials education and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee. “Therefore, the committee felt it was necessary to clear up that process and provide coaches and officials with a standard definition of a projected substitute.”

            The following Points of Emphasis were approved by the Softball Rules Committee:

  1. STRIKE ZONE (FP)
  2. DP/FLEX EDUCATION
  3. PITCHING (FP)

 

According to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 482,629 participants in 15,789 schools. Fast-pitch softball is the fifth-most popular sport for girls with 364,297 participants in 15,225 schools during the 2013-14 season.