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Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series Decatur Heritage 9-3, J.U. Blacksher 8-2

     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.

     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 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.



CLASS 7A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

OAK MOUNTAIN 2, McGill-Toolen 1
     
Defending Class 7A state soccer champion Oak Mountain downed McGill-Toolen 2-1 Saturday at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park to make it two in a row as the  2016 AHSAA State Soccer Championships concluded. 
     Coach Daniel DeMasters’  Eagles now have six boys’ state championships including both 7A titles awarded since the AHSAA moved to seven classifications in 2014-15.
     Junior Charles Jeter scored both goals for Oak Mountain, which concluded its season unbeaten at 28-0-2. His first goal came at 9:45 of the first half to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead at the half. He followed with his second goal with an assist from Caleb Van Geffen at 51:27 in the second half and Oak Mountain appeared in control with a two-goal lead.
     Things changed late when McGill-Toolen  (20-6-3), coached by Nate Nicholas, scored when Anthony Spafford bumped the ball just past the Oak Mountain keeper to cut the lead to 2-1 with just over 13 minutes to play.  Both teams fought a fierce battle the rest of the way, but the Eagles were able to hang on to seal the win.
     McGill-Toolen goalkeeper Henry Blache had an outstanding match with six saves. Oak Mountain took nine shots on goal and 12 overall.  Jaxson Ellis had one save on goal for The Eagles.
     Oak Mountain’s six state titles ranks tied for third overall in the 25 years of the AHSAA state championships. John Carroll has won 10, Grissom 8 and Randolph six.  The Eagles previous state titles previous state championships came in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2015. McGill-Toolen won a state crown in 2002.

CLASS 6A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC 1, NORTHRIDGE 0
    
 John Carroll Catholic High School sophomore forward  Clair Davies posted a goal with 2:05 remaining in the second half Saturday afternoon to lift the Lady Cavaliers (23-2-3) to a 1-0 win over Northridge in the Class 6A girls’ soccer finals of the 2016 AHSAA State Soccer Championships.
     It was John Carroll’s third straight state girls’ championship.
     Davies, who earned 6A Championship MVP, took a pass from senior forward Lindsey Flemming and nailed the shot that held Coach Chase Zanaty’s team avoid overtime in what had been a spirited scoreless battle for the first 77:55.
     John Carroll took 17 shots to just five for Northridge (21-4-0), including 11 shots on goal to just three for Coach Carter Hill’s Jaguars. It was Northridge’s defense that kept the Tuscaloosa team close down to the wire. Goalkeeper Carmen Smith had two saves.
    John Carroll now has four girls’ state soccer titles to their credit with championships also won in 2000, 2014 and 2015. The four titles ranks the Lady Cavaliers tied with Spain Park for fifth overall in the AHSAA state record book.  Fort Payne and Briarwood Christian lead with eight each. Grissom and Montgomery Academy have won five apiece.

CLASS 6A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP

CULLMAN 2, DAPHNE 1 (OT)
    
 Cullman High School captured the school’s first state boys’ soccer championship since 2002 Saturday morning with an exciting 2-1 Class 6A finals victory over Daphne in two overtimes.  The Bearcats (24-4-2) scored the winning goal with 53 seconds left in the overtime period – at 84:07 of the contest.
       The 2016 championships held at Huntsville’s John Hunt Soccer Complex, marked the 25th year of the AHSAA State Soccer Championships, which began in 1991. 
        Class 6A championship MVP Miguel Tizapa-Robles scored the winning goal. The sophomore also assisted senior midfielder Guilherme Albuquerque’s goal in the first half that gave Coach Casey Harbin’s team a 1-0 lead at intermission.  Daphne (16-6-5), coached by Cameron Williams, tied the match early in the second half on Jackson Barber’s goal at 46:15. The contest remained tied until Tizapa-Robles’ winning goal 38 minutes later.

CLASS 7A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP

VESTAVIA HILLS 3, AUBURN 0
     
Vestavia Hills High School posted three goals in the first half and defeated Auburn 3-0 Saturday morning to claim the AHSAA Class 7A girls’ state soccer championship.  The 2016 championships held at Huntsville’s John Hunt Soccer Complex, marked the 25th year of the AHSAA State Soccer Championships, which began in 1991. 
     Coach Brigid Littleton’s Rebels (23-2-0) took an early 1-0 lead on senior midfielder Sophia Kamburis’ goal just 7:11 into the championship match. Sophomore forward Alli Glaze scored the second goal at 29:50, and sophomore Sara McCurry notched the last goal at 37:34.  Kennedy Hicks assisted McCurry and Caroline Causey had the assist for Glaze. Kamburis, who had three shot attempts, was selected the 7A championship’s MVP.
      Vestavia Hills’ defense limited Auburn to only one shot the entire match and no shots on goal.  The Rebels, who won the school’s fourth girls’ state title, had 21 shots including 11 on goal.  The 2016 crown was the first since 2007, however. The other two championships came in 2001 and 2005.
      Senior goalkeeper Sarah Thorne had eight saves for Coach Chris Blight’s Auburn Tigers (24-2-2).