By LaVonte Young/Talladega Daily Home
Fayetteville High’s baseball team used a strong performance to win the third and decisive game in a Class 2A second round state baseball playoff series against visiting Westbrook Christian, 6-1, on Saturday (Apr. 29).
On Friday (Apr. 28), the Warriors won Game 1 by a score of 3-2, then fell in the second game, 6-4.
Fayetteville (20-10) will host Thorsby this week in the third round.
Westbrook head coach Matt Kennedy said that the series loss was for the most part a lack of execution.
“We picked a bad weekend not to play well. When you have opportunities you have to execute, and we didn’t do that. We left 10 men on base, and every chance that Fayetteville had, they scored baserunners with two outs. It’s a shame, because [game 3 starter] Sam Dutton pitched a really good game and we didn’t give him any run support. “You also can’t give up six unearned runs like we did [in game 2] and expect to win. Plus, I don’t think that any of our kids had a multiple-hit game, which makes it tough. Our pitching was good for all three games but we didn’t play good defense and we didn’t hit the ball when we had the opportunity.”
After going scoreless for the first three innings, the Wolves got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Cody Pate hit a sacrifice fly to score Jon Dalton Pate.
Fayetteville then scored four runs in the fifth and put the game away.
Tyler Talton started the inning with a single to right field. He then stole second and advanced to third base on a pass ball.
Sam Manning hit a single to score Talton to give Fayetteville a 2-0 lead. DeLoach hit a 3-run home run over the leftfield wall to increase the lead to 5-0.
Talton had it going for the Wolves on the mound, as the junior was on cruise control through four innings. He allowed a few hits but the Wolves defense made plays to end any real threat.
In the fifth, Talton walked a batter, allowed a single and he hit a batter to load the bases. With two outs and bases loaded, Talton was able to strike out Troy Bearden to end the inning.
Fayetteville added an insurance run in the sixth when Luke Murphy hit a single down the rightfield line to score Peyton McKee from second base.
Talton was pulled in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs. Cody Pate came in relief and walked in a run to make it 6-1. Pate then recorded a strikeout and he was able to get two batters to fly out to end the game.
On Friday, Fayetteville held off a late Westbrook rally to win 6-4. The Warriors won the first game of the series, 3-2.
In the opener, Fayetteville trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. Talton opened the inning with an infield single. He was awarded second base after the umpires determined that the baseball went into the dugout following an errant throw from the Westbrook third baseman.
Manning hit an RBI double to right field to score Talton to tie the game at 2-2. Manning advanced to third base on the ensuing pitch as the baseball hit off the catcher’s chest protector.
With one out and a runner on third, Luke Murphy hit a chopper right in front of the mound. Just as Tyler Self fielded the ball, Manning was halfway down the third baseline. Self tossed the baseball to catcher Troy Bearden, who tagged Manning out as he tried to touch home plate with his hand on a headfirst slide.
The inning ended when Murphy attempted to steal second base but got caught in a run-down.
In the seventh inning, Westbrook Christian was able to manufacture a run to take a 3-2 lead. Garret Kennedy got things going with a double to rightfield. Kennedy advanced to third base on a groundout to the third baseman, who threw the runner out at first.
Sam Dutton came up clutch for the Warriors. With two outs and a runner on third, he hit a single to centerfield that allowed Kennedy to score and give the Warriors the 3-2 lead.
Fayetteville had a chance in the bottom half of the inning, but Westbrook ended any hope of the Wolves making a late rally. Bailey DeLoach started off the inning with a single before Self got Jon Dalton Pate to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The game ended on a Blake Morris flyout to centerfield.
Self allowed five hits and two earned runs in the complete game victory.
Fayetteville got off to a good start in the second game. Bailey DeLoach hit a two-run single to score Sam Manning, who reached on an infield single, and Luke Murphy, who reached base on an error to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
In the third inning, DeLoach came up with another clutch hit as he recorded an RBI single to score Manning, giving Fayetteville a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Kolter Usrey recorded an RBI single to increase the Wolves’ lead to 4-0.
Westbrook chipped away at Fayetteville’s lead in the fifth inning. Andrew Dutton hit an RBI single to score Addison Ponder and make it 4-1.
Fayetteville added two runs in the seventh, however, which ended up being the difference in the game. An error on Westbrook allowed Cody Pate and Usrey to score to make it 6-1.
But the Warriors fought their way back into the game in the bottom half of the frame and had a chance to end the series. Cullen Stafford hit a two-run single to cut it to 6-3, and
Self hit a RBI single to score Andrew Lockridge to draw the Warriors within 6-4.
Fayetteville starting pitcher Sam Manning was then pulled out for Tyler Talton after going 6 and two-third innings. With two on and two outs, Talton hit John Ross Morgan to load the bases, but Talton recorded a strikeout to end the game.
“I’m not disappointed that we got beat; I’m disappointed in how we got beat, and that’s a big difference,” said Matt Kennedy. “I didn’t think that we did a good job of preparing, and that’s my fault. But we’re losing only one starter for next year, so we’ve got a lot to build on.”
Publisher/Editor Chris McCarthy contributed to this story