Photo: Gadsden State’s Riley Jackson slides into second base ahead of the tag of Snead State’s Kurt Kizer during the Cardinals’ fall baseball home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at Gadsden City High School. It was the program’s first home game since 2011. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Although his team dropped both ends of a double header against Snead State last Wednesday (Sept. 27) at Gadsden City High School, Gadsden State head baseball coach Blake Lewis saw plenty of silver lining in the losses.
“Every time we get a chance to play outside competition instead of between ourselves is always a good thing,” he said. “Although we still have a long way to go, today was a measurement of progress that we’ve made. All around, I thought it was a productive day.
“Things are never crystal clear until late spring, but [the fall season] allows the kids to get more comfortable and settled in.”
Playing in the program’s first home game in 12 seasons, the Cardinals dropped the opener, 3-0, and lost the nightcap, 5-3.
Both games were seven innings.
Game 1 starter Luke Weems, a 2023 Sardis High graduate who helped the Lions finish as the Class 5A state runner-up this past spring, did not allow a hit over his two innings of work while walking two and striking out one.
In game 2, 2023 Gadsden City High graduate Jordan Nowell followed starter Cody Russell with a pair of scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
“I thought that Luke and Jordan threw the ball well,” said Lewis.”They’re both learning how to pitch at the college level, which is a strong task in itself. We’re not just trying to get them ready for the spring [season]; we’re trying to them ready to pitch and be successful at the four-year level.”
Wednesday’s game was scoreless until the top of the fifth, when the Parsons’ Tyler Whaley doubled and scored on a wild pitch. Snead State added a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. Chris Calma scored off Jack Hayes’ single and Whaley came home by way of Brayden Moore’s sacrifice fly.
Gadsden State’s Riley Jackson stroked a two-out single in the bottom of the inning but was stranded at first base.
Jackson went 2-for-3, while Blake Hall and Hunter Humphries each had a hit.
In game 2, the Parsons took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second when Matt Miller doubled in Ben Pearman and Miller scored on an error.
The Cardinals tied the score in the top of the third when Tanner Vance homered over the left field wall with Daniel Cain on base. GSCC and took the lead in the following inning when Nick Ford came home as a result of a bases-loaded walk.
That was there extent of the Gadsden State offense, however, and Snead State pushed across three runs in the fifth to secure the sweep.
Vance went 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored; Hayden Strickland went 2-for-2; Cain had a hit and a run scored and Caden Jones and Thomas Skaggs each had a hit. Russell went two innings, allowing a hit and two runs and fanning two.
Lewis appreciated the large turnout for the program’s first home game since 2011.
“It’s definitely special to see the amount of people who showed up and supported us today. It’s obvious that this program means a lot to a lot of folks in the community. All in all, it was a really good event to get out and show off our team in our hometown.”