LIONS PICK UP THREE WINS AT WOOD BAT TOURNAMENT
March 28, 2014By Jimmy White of Prattville High School
MARBURY NIP LIONS IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, 1-0
Prattville High’s baseball team won three games over the week playing in the Autauga Wooden Bat Classic.
Prattville’s head baseball coach Martin Jackson and Marbury head baseball coach Lyman Woodfin got together prior to the baseball season and came up with the unique idea of having a baseball tournament at each teams’ respective field during the Spring break (March 24-28).
Both coaches felt it would be beneficial to their respective teams and certainly it would save on expenses rather than spend a lot of money going to Gulf Shores or to Lake Martin for those spring break tournaments.
The idea resonated around the use of wooden bats, since the games would not count against the opportunity for the team to earn a position in the state playoffs.
The plan was to have games at Roger Lambert Field located at Prattville High School and games at Marbury’s baseball field. Each school secured playing dates for three teams at each site and staged a round robin with each team playing each other.
When the dust settled the two teams with the best record would play for the Autauga Wood Bat Class Championship. The championship game would be hosted by Marbury High School.
Marbury breezed thru its tournament unscathed. The Bullodgs defeated Caelra, 5-2, Robert E. Lee, 13-5, and Shades Mountain Christian, 17-1. Prattville was not as fortunate. The Lions defeated Rehobeth, 7-1, and Selma, 2-1. However the Lions fell against Alabama Christian in extra innings, 4-3.
Prattville would have to play Calera in a semifinal match to reach the finals. The game would be play at Marbury Wednesday afternoon.
Prattville’s bats came to life against the Eagles. The Lions jumped on Calera’s starter Tyler Ferguson for three runs in the first inning highlighted by Hayden White’s seventh round tripper of the year, a two run shot over the right center field fence.
Zac Hahn drove in a solo run in the fourth inning chasing Ferguson. Calera brought in Zachary Harrell, and he did not fare better as the Lions got to Harrell for three runs and a 7-3 lead.
The Lions then exploded in the sixth inning aided immensely by two Eagles bobbles and freshman Purvis Turnbow walking three Lions and plucking one that led to six runs and a mercy rule win after six innings
Prattville’s Elijah Stewart threw six innings to pick up the win. Stewart gave up five hits, three runs, walked two and fanned three. Gideon Moyer-Craft and Hayden White both collected two hits to pace the nine-hit attack for the win.
This set up the match between the Lions and the Bulldogs. The game was played under windy conditions, although it wasn’t too chilly; the folks gathered at the ball park saw a classic pitching duel between Marbury’s ace sophomore lefty Wallace Henry and Prattville’s senior righty, Harley Thompson
Prattville had a scoring opportunity in the second inning. After one was out Henry walked Dalton Yarnell. Donovan Fisher followed with a single. Moyer-Craft beat a roller in front of pitcher’s mound that moved Yarnell and Fisher up one base. Henry got Avery Morgan to pop up to third base on a 0-1 count ending the threat.
For eight innings the Bulldogs and the Lions could not muster a score. Prattville had another golden opportunity in the seventh inning when Donovan Fisher led off with a blast down the left field line that got by left fielder Gabe Wurtz with Fisher stopping at third with no outs.
Still Prattville had a runner at first. Avery Morgan moved Moyer-Craft to second with a sacrifice. Hahn reached first on an infield throwing error with Moyer-Craft now at third. Marbury’s crafty southpaw got Chandler Mullins to pop up to first baseman Michael Peterson for the third out.
Marbury’s Ben Barrett doubled down the third base line in the fourth inning, was only the second Bulldog to reach base. He was stranded as Thompson got Peterson to fly out to right field.
Thompson’s only other serious difficulties came in the sixth inning. Brett Spires reached first on an infield error, which was followed immediately by another infield boot giving Marbury runners at third and second and no outs.
Thompson wiggled his way out of the jam with a ground ball to first by Joseph Jennings, a strikeout of Nixon, and Barrett rolled out to third.
Thompson and Henry were done after eight innings. Both had very impressive numbers. Henry threw 108 pitches, 73 for strikes, gave up four hits and walked none. Thompson threw 91 pitches, 60 were strikes, gave up one base hit, walked two and struck out six.
Marbury won the classic match in the ninth inning. Tanner Baumann relieved Thompson. He walked Nixon Jennings to open the inning. Prattville had a change to turn a double play on Nixon’s slow roller to second base, but Yarnell couldn’t get the ball to first in time to nip the fleet Nixon after the force of Jennings.
Nixon stole second base. Barrett flew out to left field and then Baumann hit Peterson. Gabe Wurtz came to bat and on a one-one count hit a hard grounder toward first base. The ball scooted under Elijah Stewart’s glove with Nixon scoring easily with the lone run for the 1-0 victory.
The Wooden Bat Classic at Spring break was a success. Hopefully Woodfin and Jackson will get together next spring and schedule another one.
Looking down the road at the playoffs-- Prattville played Thompson last night in a single game at Roger Lambert Field. The Warriors are in first place in the Area Seven Class 6A race and are currently ranked number two in the state class 6A standings. The Lions will travel to Alabaster Friday for a doubleheader. Wetumpka played host to Stanhope Elmore last night. The two teams will play a doubleheader at Stanhope Elmore Friday.
Marbury will play host to Valley Tuesday April 1 and travel to Valley for a double header Friday. The Bulldogs will then play Benjamin Russell April 8th in Alexander City. The Wildcats will travel to Marbury Friday April 11 for the doubleheader.
Benjamin Russell is on top of the Class 5A Area 5 standings have swept Valley in their three game series. Booker T. Washington did not field a baseball team.