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PELHAM SWEEP LIONS OUT OF 6A STATE PLAYOFFS
April 23, 2014By Jimmy White of Prattville High School
CHANDLER MULLINS & PEARSON HALL HURL OUTSTANDING GAMES; COSTLY ERRORS & NO RUN SUPPORT END PRATTVILLE SEASON ON SOUR NOTE
Prattville High’s baseball team ended their 2014 season on a sour note in Shelby County. The Lions earned a spot in the Class 6A playoffs and was rewarded with a trip to Pelham to face the number one ranked and defending state champions, Pelham Panthers.
The Lions played some of their best baseball of the season against the Panthers with the exception of five errors that were costly. Prattville got two outstanding pitching performances from two juniors, Chandler Mullins and Pearson Hall.
Despite the great effort by Mullins and Hall limiting the Panthers to one earned run in the twin bill, the old error bugaboo continued to plaque the Lions. Pelham scored four unearned runs to win the double dipper, 3-2 and 2-1.
With the twin bill victory Pelham advanced to the second round of the playoffs and will host Spain Park Friday, May 25, with a double header. If the two teams spilt Friday then a third and deceiding game will be played Saturday afternoon.
The two teams met during the regular season with Pelham winning both games, 2-0, and 4-3.
Dropping the doubleheader ended Prattville’s season with a 19-18 record.
Prattville will lose five seniors from the 2014 team, but will return an outstanding pitching staff. Head coach Martin Jackson will need to replace three year lettermen catcher Hayden White, outfielder Avery Morgan, shortstop Dalton Yarnell, outfielder-pitcher Donovan Fisher, and utility player Harley Thompson.
FIRST GAME: PELHAM 3 PRATTVILLE 2
Pelham’s senior southpaw Thomas Pierce and Prattville’s junior Chandler Mullins locked up in a pitcher’s duel. Pierce retired 15 of the first 18 hitters he faced. Pierce took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning when Prattville knotted the game. Zach Hahn rapped a base hit down the third base line after one was out. He then stole second base and scored as Elijah Stewart singled into right field.
Pelham regained the lead in their half of the inning. After one was out Sam Finnerty singled, and then stole second base. Alex Urban then drove Finnerty home, the lone earned run of the series for Pelham for a 2-1 lead.
Prattville knotted the game in the top of the seventh inning. Donovan Fisher opened the frame with a base hit into left field. Dalton Yarnell sacrificed Fisher to second base. After Mullins struck out Avery Morgan hit a booming double into center field to plate Fisher and tied the game. Hayden White was intentionally walked. Pierce then fanned Hahn leaving the game knotted at 2-all.
Mullins got the first two Panthers out he faced in the bottom of the seventh. Justin Anderson hit an infield grounder that would have been the third out, but the ball was dropped at first base. He then stole second base. Jacob Murchison rapped a grounder into deep shortstop and the throw to first sailed over first baseman Elijah Stewart’s head with Anderson racing home with the winning run.
SECOND GAME: PELHAM 2 PRATTVILLE 1
Another pitcher’s duel developed as Prattville’s Pearson Hall and Pelham’s Connor Ratcliffe pitched excellent baseball.
Prattville drew first blood in the third inning. Mullins singled into left field. He was sacrificed to second by Avery Morgan and scored on Rhett Hollon’s single.
Hall retired the first nine of 11 Panthers he faced in the first three innings. Stovall opened the fourth with a double to right field. Tyler White laid down a bunt but no one was at first base as Prattville’s infield was out of sync. In the confusion Stovall raced home. Tyler Payne laid down another bunt as Tyler White scored when Prattville catcher Hayden White’s throw sailed into center field attempting to throw out Payne at second.
The two runs was all the offense Pelham could generate for the entire game. The next three innings the Panthers went one-two-three.
Prattville could never get a clutch hit. The Lions scored one run in the third inning. Mullins opened the inning with a single into left field. He was sacrificed to second by Morgan and later scored with a single from Rhett Hollon.
Prattville left runners at third base in the fifth and sixth inning. The Lions also left runners at second base in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh inning.