Sardis, Etowah, Westbrook, Coosa, Ashville win area titles; Glencoe, Southside finish runner-up

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Sardis clinched its fourth straight area championship last week with a pair of victories over Class 5A Area 13 rival Boaz.
The No. 5 Lions (16-11) defeated the No. 4 Pirates 6-1 on Friday, April 12 in Sardis City and 8-3 on Saturday, April 13 in Boaz.
Sardis rode the arm of Blaze Gerhart in Friday’s game, as the senior fireballer threw a no-hitter. In seven innings, Gerhart (pictured above at right) allowed one run and three walks while striking out 12. He retired the side in order in the first, third and seventh innings and struck out the side in the first and third innings. His only blemish occurred in the top of the fourth when Tyler Pierce scored off a bases-loaded ground out.
Gerhart provided himself all the support he would need when he homered in the bottom of the first with Andrew Carroll on base. Russ Wiggs singled in Levi Martin later in the inning. Martin and Carson Gillilan scored in the third to make it 5-0, while Trey Thornton came home in the fifth for additional insurance.
Gerhart went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored; Wiggs went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Conner Lowery went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
In Saturday’s game, the Lions scored four runs in the top of the seventh for a five-run cushion. With two outs and Sardis ahead 4-3, Thornton doubled in Gerhart, Wiggs singled home Gillilan, Thornton scored off an error and Brian Chapman, base hit plated Wiggs.
In the bottom of the inning, Lowery allowed a one-out single before retiring the next two batters. Lowery provided a strong pitching effort, scattering eight hits, three runs and one walk while fanning eight to earn the win.
Chapman went 1-for-2 with two RBI; Thornton and Wiggs each had a hit, an RBI and a run scored; Carroll had a hit, an RBI and two runs scored; and Gillilan, Martin, Thornton and Wiggs each had a hit and a run scored.
Sardis hosts Moody in the first round of the Class 5A state playoff starting on Friday, April 19 with a doubleheader at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Class 3A No. 8 Westbrook Christian secured the region championship for the 17th year in a row with a 10-0 (six innings), 11-0 (five innings) doubleheader sweep of area 11 rival Ohatchee on Friday, April 12 in Rainbow City.
The Warriors (16-9) host Elkmont in a first round series starting with a doubleheader on Thursday April 18 at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., with an if necessary Game 3 on Friday, April 19 at 3 p.m.
Against Ohatchee, Game 1 starter Dylan Rainey and Game 2 starter Braden Kay combined to limit the Indians to 10 hits, no runs and one walk with 12 strikeouts.
At the plate for Westbrook in the opener, Brady Carden went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored; Jacob Maples and Brody Blevins each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored; Will Chadwick went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored; Noah Wright went 1-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored; and Brodie Johnson had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
In the nightcap, Johnson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored; Blevins, Brady Carden and Maples each had a hit and two runs scored; and Wright and Bo Kilgo both had a hit and an RBI.

Etowah finished 5-1 in Class 4A Area 14 play this season to earn its third straight area championship. The third-ranked Blue Devils (17-12) split against North Jackson on April 12 and 13, falling 5-3 and winning 7-4.
Etowah hosts White Plains in a first round series starting with a doubleheader on Thursday, April 18 at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
In Saturday’s 7-4 win in Stevenson, the Blue Devils outscored the Chiefs 6-1 over the final four innings to notch the victory. From the third to the fifth inning, winning pitcher Jameson Scissum allowed only five baserunners, two of which were intentional. He scattered seven hits, seven walks and four runs while striking out five. Baylor Morrison pitched an inning of spotless relief.
Scissum helped his cause by going 3-for-4 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored. Also for Etowah, Bodie Bennett had a hit and two runs scored, while Conner Dingler and Avery Haynes each had a hit and an RBI.

A two-game sweep of Hokes Bluff last week earned Glencoe the runner-up spot in Class 3 Area 11 and a berth in the postseason for the first time since 2019.
The Yellow Jackets (16-14) defeated the Eagles 11-1 on Thursday, April 11 in six innings and 8-7 on Saturday, April 13 in seven innings.
Glencoe visits No. 3 Lauderdale County in a first round series starting with a doubleheader on Thursday, April 18 at 4:30 and 7 p.m.
In the April 11 game against Hokes Bluff, Glencoe starter Brady Kitchens limited the Eagles to four hits, one run and four walks in five innings. He helped his cause by going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Trent Rowell went 4-for-4 with a triple, a double and two runs scored; Aiden Johnson went 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored; Jordan Haney and Dylan Perry each had a hit and two RBI; and Jayden Patton had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
For Hokes Bluff, Braden Bearden went 2-for-2 with a double.
With Hokes Bluff trailing 8-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning in the April 13 game, the Eagles loaded the bases with two outs. Bryce Whitaker’s RBI base hit plated Anderson Morgan to trim the deficit to one run, but Johnson induced a flyout to centerfield to short-circuit the rally and secure the win. Johnson provided the eventual winning run with his RBI double in the top of the fifth. He went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.
Also for the Yellow Jackets, Rowell went 3-for-5 with three runs scored; Jaxon Hollis went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored; Jake Boggs had an RBI and two runs scored; and Patton had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
For Hokes Bluff, Whitaker went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored; Glavine Lamberth went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored; Anderson Morgan went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored; and Brodie Brogdon went 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored.

Coosa Christian won its second straight Class 1A Area 13 title after sweeping area rivals Gaylesville, Cedar Bluff and Spring Garden by an overall score of 61 to 10, most recently 7-0 and 13-1 over No. 9 Gaylesville.
Coosa hosts Hubbertville in a first round series starting with a doubleheader on Friday, April 19 at 1 and 3:30 p.m.

Southside’s second-place finish in Class 5A Area 12 earned the Panthers a berth in the postseason. Southside, which ended up behind Alexandria and ahead of Lincoln in the region standings, will travel to Arab for a first round series beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, April 19 at 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Ashville will participate in the postseason for the first time since 2003 after the Bulldogs’ 7-6 victory over Oneonta on March 8 earned them the Class 4A Area 11 championship.
With the score tied 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh innings, Dylan Palmer drew a walk and Parker Cross singled with one out.
A groundout moved the above two runners to third and second base, respectively, and Justin Henderson worked a walk in the next at-bat to load the bases.
That brought up Trevor Wicks, who on a full count was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run.
Drew Layfield earned the win against Oneonta, scattering 11 hits and five earned runs while fanning 12. He did not issue a walk. He helped his cause by going 2-for-4 with a double, four RBI and a run scored. Wicks went 2-for-3.
Also for the Bulldogs, Palmer went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored; Owen Whiteman went 2-for-4 with a run scored; and Easton Layfield had a hit, an RBI and two runs scored.
Ashville will host West Limestone in the first round of the state playoffs beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, April 19 at 4:30 and 7 p.m.

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