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3 Defending Champions in Finals Championship Matches Set for 46th AHSAA State Volleyball Championships Thursday

    BIRMINGHAM – Fourteen outstanding volleyball teams advanced through quarterfinal and semifinal play Wednesday to advance to the 2017 AHSAA State Volleyball Championships Thursday.
       Defending champions Addison (1A), St. Luke’s Episcopal (2A) and Bayside Academy (3A) each claimed semifinal victories at Birmingham’s CrossPlex Wednesday. The 46th annual championships move to the Bill Harris Arena next door beginning at 8 a.m., with 1A finals at the 5,500-seat arena. The remaining schedule features the Class 6A finals at 9:45 a.m.; Class 7A at 11 a.m.; Class 5A at 1:15 p.m.; Class 4A at 3 p.m.; Class 2A at 4:45 p.m.; and Class 3A closing out the seven championship matches at 6:30 p.m.
    Each championship will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network with veteran announcer Jerry Young handling the play-by-play.
      Bayside Academy (41-10) nipped Carbon Hill (69-10) in the Class 3A semifinals Wednesday 3-1 to move into the 3A finals Thursday. The Lady Admirals of Coach Ann Schilling will striving to claim their 16th consecutive state crown facing Montgomery Academy (44-12) in the championship at 6:30 p.m. That match will close out the 46th annual state tournament.
    Senior setter Ansleigh Daily had 39 assists and senior outside hitter Brantley Rhodes had 18 kills in the tough semifinal win over Carbon Hill. The Bulldogs were led by junior Alyssa Dutton’s 14 kills. Bayside owns 25 state championships dating back to 1981. Schilling’s team won three in a row from 1998-2000, failed to win in 2001 and has won ever since. The 2002-2007 championships came in Class 2A and the rest since then have come in Class 3A.
    Montgomery Academy beat Providence Christian 3-2 in the other semifinal battle. Coach Julie Gordon’s Eagles won the 2A state crown in 2013.
    Addison (50-8) is going for its fourth championship in a row – winning in Class 2A in 2014 and 2015 and last year in Class 6A. Coach Kayla Woodard’s Bulldogs will face arch-rival Meek (46-17), insuring that Winston County schools will own the crown for one more year.
    St. Luke’s (33-15) will meet Goshen (28-13) in the 2A finals. The Wildcats won their first state championship last season and the Eagles are playing in the finals for the first time in school history.
    Deshler and Saint James will meet in the 4A finals. The Tigers of Coach Jana Killen will be vying for the school’s first volleyball state title. Killen has coached the Lady Tigers (43-14) to five state basketball championships, however, winning the 4A titles in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2015 and 2016. Saint James (36-9) captured volleyball titles in 2001 and 2003. Lawrence County (59-4) and Alexandria (43-9) square off in the 5A championship match. The Red Devils have five state championships with the last one coming in 1999. Alexandria won back-to-back titles in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
     In Class 6A, Pelham (40-9) is taking on Jasper (59-4). The Panthers won state titles 1993 and 1997 and the Vikings will be playing for their first state crown. McGill-Toolen Catholic insured a new 7A champion will be crowned by knocking off Mountain Brook in the semifinals. The Spartans won the first three 7A titles since the new class was added (2014, 2015 and 2016). McGill (45-7) has 19 state titles to its credit with the last one coming in 2005. The Dirty Dozen will be facing Bob Jones, which knocked off Oak Mountain in the other 7A semifinal. The Patriots (41-10) have two state titles with the most recent coming in 2013.
        

AHSAA 46th Annual Volleyball Championships
Birmingham CrossPlex

THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
At Bill Harris Arena
(All matches lived-streamed by the NFHS Network)
CLASS 1A
Addison (50-8) vs. Meek (46-17), 8 a.m.
CLASS 2A

Goshen (28-13) vs. St. Luke's Episcopal (33-15), 4:45 p.m.
CLASS 3A
Bayside Academy (41-10) vs. Montgomery Academy (44-12), 6:30 p.m.  
CLASS 4A
Saint James (36-9) vs. Deshler (43-14), 3 p.m.
CLASS 5A
Lawrence County (59-4) vs. Alexandria (43-9), 1:15 p.m.
CLASS 6A
Jasper (57-4) vs. Pelham (40-9), 9:45 a.m.
CLASS 7A
Bob Jones (41-10) vs. McGill-Toolen Catholic (45-7), 11:30 a.m.


AHSAA CLASS 7A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Hoover Sweeps Games 2 & 3 to Capture Class 7A State Baseball Championship

     MONTGOMERY – Hoover High School senior left-handed pitcher Brock Guffey hurled a 2-hit shutout to beat Auburn 4-0 in game two of the AHSAA Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series Saturday, then hurled the final 1 1/3 innings in game three to earn the save as the Bucs captured the state crown.
   Guffey (11-0), the 7A Series MVP,  struck out 11, walked none and faced just one batter over the limit in the first-game win Saturday for Coach Adam Moseley’s Bucs (41-11). He set the pace early striking out the first three batters he faced.  Auburn center fielder Trey Woodham got a double but was thrown out at third and first baseman Carter Phillips managed a single to also reach base safely.
    Third baseman Peyton Wilson had two hits and an RBI and left fielder Brandon Agsalud had a single and two RBIs to pace Hoover.
    Hoover picked up where it left off in game three with senior Devin Cole (5-2) hurling five strong innings as the Bucs built a 6-0 lead. The Bucs shut out Auburn for 11 consecutive innings on Saturday and ran the streak with 13 counting the final two innings Friday night in game one.
     Junior first baseman Sonny DiChiara doubled in a run in the first inning to give Hoover a quick 1-0 lead. The Bucs scored five runs in the third with DiChiara doubling in another run, Drew Guffey, Brook’s brother, singling to plate another run and Ty Robinson driving in two with a double.
     Auburn, coached by Matt Cimo, finally got on the board with two unearned runs off Cole in the fifth. Cole, who got the win, allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out three before yielding to Hoover reliever Griffin Lape in the sixth.
     Woodham singled and scored to highlight the fifth for the Tigers. Auburn closed to 6-3 in the sixth and Moseley turned to his first-game winning Guffey to come in to close out the win. Guffey allowed three hits and two runs in his relief stretch but pitched out of a seventh-inning jam to get the save. Auburn’s Rowdey Jordan drove in two runs with a single to give the Tigers one last chance at the win.
    DiChiara’s two doubles paced Hoover’s eight-hit attack. Tyler Williams also had two hits while Robinson and DiChiara each had two RBIs. Shortstop Garrett Farquhar scored two runs.
    Ryan Lambert (6-2) started for Auburn and got the loss.
    Hoover’s baseball title was the school’s second. The 7A Series closed out the 2017 State Baseball Championships.

CLASS 4A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Northside 4, Westminster Christian 0

     MONTGOMERY – Northside High School beat Westminster Christian in the winner’s bracket finals 2-1 and then beat the Wildcats again the championship game Saturday to claim the AHSAA 2017 Class 4A state softball tournament.
      Winning pitcher and 4A state tourney Most Outstanding Player Savannah Stamps hurled a four-hitter in the finals, walking none and striking out two for the Rams (43-17-1) of Coach Tommy Honeycutt. Carson Beatty was 3-for-4 with a double and RBI and Savannah Tidwell also had three hits with a solo homer. Catcher Destiny Noble also had a double for Northside.
   Westminster senior  Annie Willis scatter eight hits and struck out nine and got the loss. Amy Tillman had two hits including a double for Coach Mandy Lowman’s Wildcats (51-5-1).
    Northside also had wins over Cordova (12-4) and Alabama Christian (4-2).
    The Class 5A tournament was still underway Saturday with Springville and Scottsboro battling in the finals. All championship games have been live-streamed over the NFHS Network. All state-tournament boxscores are available on line at www.ahsaa.com.
Class 4A All-State Tournament Team
Savannah Stamps, Northside (MOP); Riley Grace Honeycutt, Northside; Carson Beatty, Northside; Gabby Hilliker, Northside; Destiny Noble, Northside;  Annie Willis, Westminster; Olivia Aycock, Westminster; Lauren McCoy, Westminster; Macy Kate Toon, Westminster.

CLASS 1A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Sumiton Christian 9-9, Brantley 3-8

     MONTGOMERY – Sumiton Christian, competing in Class 1A after capturing the Class 2A state championship the last two seasons, came out of the loser’s bracket to beat Brantley twice, 9-3 and finally 9-8, Friday night to clinch the 2017 AHSAA Class 1A state softball championship at Lagoon Park.
    Coach Jessica Adderholt’s Eagles (56-9) finished 6-1 in the tourney.  They opened with an 11-1 win over Marion County but lost in the second round to Pleasant Home 6-5. Sumiton then battled back to the finals with wins over Ragland (13-4), Spring Garden (13-6) and Pleasant Home (5-1) to set up the championship with three-time defending champion Brantley.
    Taylor Whisonant sparked the 9-3 victory with three hits and five RBIs. She had a homer, double and single and winning pitcher Kamree Lay also had three hits. Lay scattered eight hits and struck out one to get the win. Losing pitcher Leanna Johnson had two hits for Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s Bulldogs (51-5).
    Sumiton Christian trailed 8-6 after  Brantley rallied to post six runs in the top of the fifth. Olivia Jones delivered the big hit, her second triple of the game. The Eagles ralled for three runs in the sixth to seal the win.
     Whisonant drove two runs with one hit in the final game. Teammate Abbey Bice socked a solo homer, Anna Kate Tyree collected a double and three RBIs, Angel Whitlow doubled in two runs and Savanah Langston had two hits. Lay got the win again allowing eight hits and striking out six over seven innings.
    Losing pitcher Kassidy Wilcox had a double, single and two RBIs for Coach Cindy Hawthorne’s Bulldogs. She gave up seven hits, eight walks and struck out four in the loss. Jones finished with two triples and three RBIs. Brantley outscored Waterloo, Spring Garden and Pleasant Home 39-0 in three winner’s bracket victories before losing to Sumiton twice to close out the tournament.
   The state tourney continues Saturday for Classes 4A and 5A at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. In one schedule change, the finals for both classes are scheduled to start at 1 p.m., with the “if” game to follow if needed at approximately 2:30.
Class 1A All-State Tournament Team
Taylor Whisonant, Sumiton Christian (MOP); Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Christian; Kendall Sides, Sumiton Christian; Savannah Langston, Sumiton Christian; Anna Calloway, Sumiton Christian; Leanna  Johnson, Brantley;  Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley; Olivia Jones, Brantley; Anna Katherine Kimbro, Brantley.

CLASS 7A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Buckhorn 5, Sparkman 0

     MONTGOMERY – Buckhorn High School (43-11) rolled to four straight wins at Lagoon Park to capture the 2017 Class 7A state softball championship Friday. Coach Alvin Rauls’ Lady Bucks beat their Madison County arch-rivals and defending state champion Sparkman 5-0 in the championship game.
     Zoie Emrick pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief to get the win. She allowed no hits or runs and struck out two. Starter Lauren Harbin started and allowed two hits over 2 2/3 innings.
    Emrick, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Class 7A state tourney.
    Buckhorn took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and then scored four in the fifth frame with Jordan Evans’ three-run double the big hit. Courtney Marlow also had two hits and one RBI and scored twice. The Bucks also beat Fairhope 12-1, Tuscaloosa County 10-2 and Spain Park 7-1 to outscore all four opponents 34-4 in the state tourney.
     Cassidy Duskin got the loss for Sparkman (54-11). Taylor Davis and Amanda Shikoh each had a hit for the Senators, who lost in the first round to Baker 7-5 and then won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals.
   The state tourney continues Friday and Saturday at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 7A All-State Tournament Team
Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn (MOP); Sidney Edwards, Buckhorn; Kaylee Combs, Buckhorn; Laura Harbin, Buckhorn; Taylor Davis, Sparkman; Cassidy Duskin, Sparkman; Lily Calvert, Sparkman; MacKenzie Nutt, Buckhorn.


AHSAA CLASS 7A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Auburn 9, Hoover 6

     MONTGOMERY – Auburn High School plated five runs in the bottom of the first inning and then held on to beat Hoover 9-6 in the first game of the AHSAA Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series at Paterson Field Friday night.
     The Tigers (28-10) and Bucs (39-11) move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday morning for game two at 10 a.m. If a third game is needed in the best 2-of-3 series, it will start 30 minutes after game two concludes. All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Both teams combined for 24 hits with Coach Adam Moseley’s Bucs out-hitting Coach Matt Cimo’s Tigers 14-10. Hoover stranded 11 runners, however, and Auburn just five. The Tigers bunched four hits in the first inning to take a quick 5-0 lead. Teddy Benda got the first of his two hits to plate one run and catcher Rawlins Cleveland added a two-run homer that hit the screen on the left-field foul pole..
     Hoover got three back in the top of the second with five hits. Drew Guffey’s double down the left-field line plated two of the runs. Auburn added another run in the bottom of the inning on Brooks Fuller’s double to center field to lead 6-3. Max Garvey homered over the left-field wall in the top of the fourth as Hoover closed the cap to 6-5. 
     Auburn answered quickly again with Benda driving in more runs with a single to left. The Tigers got another run in the fifth and Hoover managed a single run in the sixth to close out the scoring.
      Starting pitcher Drew Jennings (6-2) allowed 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings to get the win for Auburn. Ryan Lambert pitched the final inning to get the save.  Hoover starter Scott Elgin (8-4) gave up nine hits and nine runs to get the loss. He struck out four.
    Benda finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Cimo’s Tigers. Cleveland also had two hits and two RBIs, and Fuller finished with two hits and two RBIs. Lead-off hitter Rowdey Jordan had one hit and scored three runs.
    Garrett Farquhar, Brandon Agsalud, C.J. Gilliland, Ty Robinson, Guffey and Garvey each had two hits. Guffey finished with two RBIs.

CLASS 6A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Helena Claims Class 6A State Crown With Two Clutch Wins at Riverwalk Stadium over Cullman

     MONTGOMERY – Helena High School built a four-run lead thanks to the clutch pitching of junior Landon Green in final game three of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday, and then managed to hold at the end to win 5-4.
    Helena forced game three with a dramatic 3-2 win in game two Friday morning at Riverwalk Stadium thanks to another strong pitching performance by Troy Cordrey in game two. The Huskies (38-6), coached by P.J. Guy, fell behind 1-0 after one inning in the finale, but tied the game in the top of the fourth when Nick Ragsdale scored on a Cullman error.
      In the bottom of the inning, Green (11-0) turned the momentum in a big way by striking out the Bearcats’ No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters on nine pitched strikes. Helena then rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth to build a 5-1 lead. Riley Davis, Sam Praytor and Brooks Brophy each got hits and then the wheels fell off Cullman’s defense as two wild pitches and an infield error led to the four runs.
   Green, who pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing just two hits and striking out five, ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh hitting three batters as Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats (38-9) scored a run and  loaded the bases. Reliever Brooks Brophy walked the first two batters he faced to make it a one-run game, but he got Carter Bowen to fly out to deep left for third out to end the game.
        Cordrey, who earned MVP honors, had one RBI in the third game. Davis and Green each had two hits.  Lovell had an RBI single and Grayson Taylor stroked a double to pace Cullman.
     In first game Friday at Riverwalk, Cullman took the lead 2-0 in the top of the fourth on Carter Bowen’s two-run single. Helena got a run back in the bottom of the inning and tied the game in the sixth. Left fielder Nick Ragsdale doubled to left to lead off the bottom of the seventh for the Huskies. Pinch runner Lawson Peoples got to third on a sacrifice by Brandon Moss and scored the winning run on pinch hitter Colton Hood’s fielder’s choice to end the game.
     Cordrey (11-2) hurled a three-hitter and struck out six to get the win for the Huskies. Will Morris (10-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and also struck out six for the Bearcats.
      Hoover and Auburn started the Class 7A Championship Series Friday night with a single game at Paterson Field at 6 p.m. The two teams will close out AHSAA State Baseball Championship Series Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. All games are live-streamed by the NFHS Network.

CLASS 6A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Cullman 9 Helena 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Cullman High School downed Helena 9-1 in a lightning-delayed first game of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series Thursday night at Paterson Field to take a 1-0 advantage into game two of the best 2-of-3 series that resumes Friday at Riverwalk Stadium at 10 a.m.
    All games in the AHSAA State Baseball Championships are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
    Coach Brent Paterson’s Bearcats (38-7) scored five runs in the first two innings to build a 5-1 lead. The lead stretched to 6-1 before a lightning delay stopped the game for more than an hour.
    Cullman added two more runs once play resumed and coasted to the triumph – collecting 10 hits and taking advantage of eight Helena errors.
     Winning pitcher Jacob Heatherly (10-1)  pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing only two hits and one unearned run. Michael Myers got the final two outs for the Bearcats. Riley Davis (7-1) got the loss. There no strikeouts registered by either team .  Senior center fielder Owen Lovell slugged a double and plated two runs for Cullman. Caleb Lipsey had three hits and scored twice, Trent Price had two hits and an RBI and lead-off hitter Noah Fondren had a single and scored two runs.
Nash Adams had a double and Davis had a single for Coach P.J. Guy’s Huskies.
    Hoover and Auburn will start the Class 7A Championship Series Friday night with a single game at Paterson Field at 6 p.m. The two teams will close out State Baseball Championship Series Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.


CLASS 5A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Russellville Wins Game 3 Over Faith Academy 7-4 To Claim Third Straight Class 5A Baseball Title

     MONTGOMERY –Russellville High School beat Faith Academy 7-4 in game three of the AHSAA 2017 Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium to captured the Golden Tigers’ third straight state title. Both teams also met in the finals in 2016.
    Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers (38-10) took 1-0 lead in the series Wednesday night with a 9-1 win over the Rams. However,  Faith Academy (30-8) forced game three with a dramatic 8-7 win in game two at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday morning.
     Russellville took control of the third and final game of the best 2-of-3 series plating four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take control.8-7 win in game two. The Tigers picked up another run in the fourth and led 7-0 with two more runs in the fourth. Coach Matt Seymour’s Rams (30-8) clawed back into the contest with two runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but it was too little too late.
     Starting pitcher Skylar Holland (6-3) pitched six strong innings to get the win for Russellville to get the game three win. He pitched in relief in game two and got the loss. Holland allowed five hits, two runs, walked one and struck out four before he reached his 120-pitch limit for the day.  Judd Ward and Rudy Fernandez hurled the seventh inning to close out the game. Fernandez got the final two outs to get the save.
    Class 5A Championship Series MVP Cody Greenhill, who pitched the 9-1 win in game one, had two hits and two RBIs to earn MVP honors. His clutch hit in the fourth  gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.  Ward, Houston Kitterman and Tom Barkley Scott also had two hits. Colin Garrison also slugged a triple and scored two runs.
     Braxton Bell, who pitched five innings in relief, had a double and single and two RBIs for Faith Academy.  Chris Sargent and Brooks Carlson also had two hits.
    Leading 5-1 Game 2, the Rams gave up six runs in the fifth and sixth inning and trailed Russellville  7-5 heading into the top of the seventh. Faith plated three runs in the top of the inning and blanked the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh to seal an 8-7 win.
     Bell (2-2 pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to get the win. He allowed one hit, walked one and faced just six batters.   Skylar Holland (5-3) pitched the final inning for Russellville and got the loss. Starter Chad Wray went six innings for the Tigers allowing six hits, five runs and striking out nine. Faith starter Gabe Shepard pitched four innings, gave up six hits and five runs and whiffed seven.
       Carlson had a double, single and RBI to pace Faith. Catcher Christian Waltman also had a double. Holland had three hits and three RBIs to pace Russellville. Scott and Garrison also had two hits each. Scott also had two RBIs.
    The Class 6A Championship Series got 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 5A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Russellville 9, Faith Academy 1

     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.