Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Dalton Grace (left) tags out Geraldine’s Zane Williams during the Warriors’ 11-1 victory in the first round of the Class 2A state baseball playoffs on April 20 in Rainbow City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Westbrook Christian was firing on all cylinders in the opening round of the Class 3A state baseball playoffs on Thursday, April 20.
The No. 4 Warriors (20-8) outhit and outpitched Geraldine and did not commit a fielding error on the way to a 11-1, 15-0 sweep in Rainbow City.
Westbrook host Lauderdale County in the second round on April 28. Game 1 is set for 4:30, followed by Game 2 at 7:30. An if-necessary Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m.
The Warriors pounded out 25 hits, including eight for extra bases, while limited the Bulldogs to 10.
Westbrook head coach Jerry Windle was pleased with his team’s plate discipline, which he noted had been lacking at times lately.
“We have not been swinging the bat well the past couple of weeks, and we knew that [Geraldine] had a couple of pretty decent pitchers,” he said. “Geraldine always does a good job of coaching their kids up, so we were pretty happy with how we were able to string some hits together. I was also pleased with how we ran the bases. Our defense was good, too, so it was a pretty solid effort all the way around.
“We got better in some areas tonight and we’re going to use this coming week to get better, so that next week we want to be the most prepared and be focused on one pitch at a time and execute the things we work on day in and day out.”
Westbrook starters High Windle and Caleb McCarty allowed little room for the Geraldine lineup to operate. In the opener, Windle scattered eight hits and one run while striking out eight, while Caleb McCarty gave up two hits while fanning for in the nightcap.
“Hugh didn’t have his best stuff, which happens on some days,” said Jerry Windle. “But he’s a competitor, and he was able to fight through that and gave us enough time to figure things out at the plate.”
Jerry Windle was impressed that neither pitcher issued a walk.
“We’ve been pretty good about that this year,” said Jerry Windle. “When you can take away those freebies, you give your defense a chance to work. Both guys stayed ahead in the pitch count all night, especially in Game 2 with Caleb. When you have a big lead early on, you can really pound the strike zone. That’s something Caleb’s worked on all year, and he did a really good job of that tonight.”
For the series, Brady Carden 5-for-7 with two doubles, four RBI and four runs scored; McCarty went 4-for-6 with a triple, two RBI and three runs scored; Windle went 3-for-4-3 with a double and three runs scored; Cameron Carden went 5-for-8 with a triple, a double, seven RBI and three runs scored; Jacob Maples went 4-for-7 with a double, four RBI and two runs scored and Mason Coley had a hit, two RBI and three runs scored.
For Geraldine (7-18), John Beck Wade went 2-for-2; Easton Davis went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Kobe Hill went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Jerry Windle pointed out that while the team goals for the season are far from being reached, he wanted his team to appreciate Thursday’s accomplishment.
“It’s not entirely about checking off a box and then looking ahead. We don’t want to take any single moment for granted. God blessed us with these opportunities, and we need to enjoy moments like these.”