Coosa falls to Sumiton Christian in state semifinals

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Coosa Christian’s postseason engine ran out of steam on May 8.
Facing Sumiton Christian in the best-of-three Class 1A state baseball semifinals, the Conquerors suffered an 11-6 setback and a 6-2 defeat in game 2 to end their season at 18-22.
“We liked our chances coming in, so it’s a tough pill to swallow, for sure,” said Coosa Christian head coach DeWayne Boyd. “Sumiton’s got a great team, and when you play a great team, you can’t make the kind of mistakes like we did, because you don’t usually come back from it. But our guys played their tails off, and to get to the Final Four says a lot about our players and our coaches. It was a good year for us; we just hated that we couldn’t finish the job.”
The Eagles (26-4) advanced to the state championship series, where they will face Sweet Water next week at Jacksonville State.
Sumiton jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opener before a three-run fourth inning drew Coosa with 7-6. Blaine West led off the inning with a walk and Brodie Nelson was hit by a pitch to set the table for Dylan Edwards, whose one-out triple trimmed the deficit to three runs.
In the next at-bat, John David Justus (pictured above) singled home Edwards to cut it to 7-5.
Sumiton tacked on another run in the bottom of the inning, however, and a two-run base hit by Kaden Parrish in the fifth made it 10-5.
In the top of the sixth, Nelson doubled and scored on Edwards’ RBI single, but Austin Scobey’s run-scoring base hit in the sixth put the Conquerors in a five-run hole.
Coosa had a prime opportunity in the seventh with Clete O’Bryant’s leadoff double and a single by Bryan Johnson, but the two baserunners stayed where they were, as Sumiton relief pitcher Sawyer Frazier recorded a pair of strikeouts along with a flyout to end the game and put the Eagles up 1-0 in the series.
Edwards went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored; Bryan Johnson went 2-for-3 with a double, Justus went 2-for-4 with an RBI; and West went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Faced with elimination in game 2, the Conquerors could not manage much production against Eagle starter Austin Hubbard, who in a complete-game effort limited Coosa to three hits and two runs while fanning eight. He did not walk a batter. Hubbard sent down the first 15 batters he faced through five innings.
The Conquerors finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth, when Brody Nelson went yard with West on base. Sumiton was leading 6-0 at that point, however, and all Coosa could muster in the seventh was a one-out base hit by Renn Gladden. Nelson went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
“We’re going to come back and get to work this summer, because our goal is to win it all next year,” said Boyd. “Our guys are hungry for it, and we want vengeance. We’ve got most of our guys coming back, so we’re going to get our minds right and do everything we can to get to that last game of the season and win it.”
Boyd expressed appreciation for what seniors Keith Johnson, Bryan Johnson and Renn Gladden brought to the program.
“This is my fourth season here, and Bryan and Keith were freshman when I got here, and they gave me everything they had. Renn transferred in from Glencoe, and he did a great job for us. I love all three of these young men, and I told them after we lost [to Sumiton Christian] that they set the standard for Coosa Christian baseball.”

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