Photo: Westbrook Christian’s John Ross Morgan holds G.W. Long’s Matt Snelll at first base during the Warriors’ 7-0 loss in the Class 2A state baseball championship series on Thursday, May 16, in Montgomery. (Mike Goodson/Messenger)
By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
G.W. Long earned its straight state baseball championship and an AHSAA-record 16th overall title with a 7-0 shutout of Westbrook Christian in Game 2 of the Class 2A title series on Thursday, May 16, at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.
The Warriors (23-14) are now 0-6 against G.W. Long in championship series play. West also lost to the Raiders in 1999 and 2013.
Troy University signee Snell shut the Warriors down after Westbrook put runners in scoring position in the first two innings, and the Warriors managed only four more hits the rest of the way.
G.W. Long (34-6) scored a run each of the first two innings and extended the lead to 5-0 in the third with singles from Snell and Slade Simmons.
Snell, who went 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored at the plate, hit the first homer of the week at Riverwalk Stadium in the bottom of the fourth to give the Rebels a 6-0 lead. A RBI single from Harrison Gray in the seventh inning capped the scoring.
Snell, who was named the series MVP, scattered six hits, walked none and struck out 12 in a complete-game effort.
Samuel Dutton took the loss for Westbrook, pitching three and one-third innings with nine hits and six runs. He walked two and struck out two.
Westbrook head coach Matt Kennedy thought that the game’s turning point of the game occurred when the Warriors left runners on base in the first and second inning.
“You can’t strand runners on base against a good team like G.W. Long. This was by far the best team we have played all year.”
Andrew Dutton went 2-for-3 for Westbrook, while Isaac James, John Ross Morgan, Fisher Glascow and Cole Patterson each had a hit.
In the series’ opener on Wednesday (May 15) at Paterson Field, G.W. Long scored 10 runs on eight hits in the top of the first and rolled to an 18-5 win in five-innings.
The Rebels notched four runs in both the second and third innings. Westbrook rallied for three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth before the game was called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Rebel starter Christian Collier pitched just one inning, as did Carson Dunlap. Jake Steed pitched the final three innings. Westbrook used five pitchers, none of whom threw more than 1.2 innings. Starter Andrew Dutton took the loss, giving up five runs on five hits.
“After giving up five runs right off, I was thinking, ‘Hopefully, we can push this to three games, and I need all my pitchers to be legal and eligible to pitch,’” Kennedy said. “It wasn’t a specific plan because we obviously didn’t expect to give up 10 in the first inning.”
Ten of G.W. Long’s 18 runs were unearned. The Warriors committed five errors, while the Rebels made four.
“Sometimes you want to lose your focus in that situation,” Miller said. “It’s ideal to get the game over as quick as possible when you are up like that. It didn’t work out like that, but we did get the game over in five innings and save some of our guys.”
Snell went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
For the Warriors, Greysen Robinson had two hits and three RBI, while Isaac James had a double, a single and an RBI.
Although disappointed in the outcome, Kennedy was pleased with his team’s accomplishments for the season.
“I’m Just real proud of these guys. It starts at the top with the leadership and we had two really good leaders in our senior class [in Greysen Robinson and John Ross Morgan]. We made the trip down here with two seniors and next year we’re coming back again. We expect to be here every year, and fortunately we were able to make it this year.”
This article was supplemented by al.com and ahsaa.com