Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Fisher Glasgow (left) dives back to first base as Lamar County’s Brodie Glasgow awaits a pickoff throw during the Warriors’ two-game sweep in the first round of the Class 2A state baseball playoffs last Friday (Apr. 23) in Rainbow City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
It was apparent early on during Westbrook Christian’s Class 2A first round playoff baseball series last Friday (Apr. 23) that there was no need for Lamar County to seek accommodations that night for a deciding third game on Saturday.
The Warriors (21-6) sent the Bulldogs back to Vernon with a 19-0, 13-0 sweep in Rainbow City. Both games ended on the 10-run mercy rule.
Westbrook hosts either North Sand Mountain or Cold Springs for a second round series starting Friday, April 30.
The Warriors had it going in pitching, offense and defense against Lamar County. Starters Samuel Dutton and Will Noles combined for one hit, no runs, three walks and 23 strikeouts in 10 innings. Only six Lamar County batters reached base and none advanced past second.
The Bulldog pitchers had no answer for a potent Westbrook lineup that produced 29 hits, including seven for extra bases. The Warriors did not commit a fielding error, a statistic that head coach Matt Kennedy was most pleased with.
“One of our main points of emphasis this year was playing solid defensively. Hitting eventually takes care of itself as the season progresses but you have to take care of the ball in the field.”
The Game 1 win was Dutton’s fourth no-hitter of the season, tying the mark of Oneonta’s Justin Bryant set in 2007. Tyler Stovall had three no-hitters for Hokes Bluff in 2007. After hitting the Bulldogs’ leadoff batter in the top of the first inning, the senior righthander and LSU signee sent down the next eight batters while racking up seven strikeouts. He fanned the side in the top of the fourth, and a sharp 4-3 double play in the fifth helped put the opener in the books.
“The main goals are always is to stay ahead in the count and treat each team like they’re the best
out there,” he said. “We’re in a good rhythm right now, and hopefully no one will be able to break it.”
Dutton received all the run support he required in the bottom of the first, when the Warriors scored seven times and batted around. Presley White and Dalton Grace both had two-run singles during the inning.
It was more of the same in the second. Two-run doubles from Dutton and Cole Patterson helped pad the Westbrook lead to 14-0.
The hosts pushed across five more runs in the third for a 19-run advantage.
Noles picked up where Dutton left off. The UAH signee retired nine of the first 11 batters in Game 2 and struck out the side in the both the second and fourth innings. After allowing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth, he fanned the next three hitters to complete the series sweep.
“I don’t believe I had my best stuff tonight, but I was able to bear down and throw strikes,” he said. “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time and not look too far ahead.”
Noles provided the winning run in the top of the first when his RBI flyout plated Fisher
Glasgow. Caiden Wyatt’s two-run single highlighted a four-run second inning, while two runs in the third, three in the fourth and three more in the fifth clinched Westbrook’s berth in the second round.
For the series, Dutton went 5-for-7 with two doubles, five RBI and a run scored; Patterson went 5-for-7 with four RBI and a run scored; Grace went 3-for-6 with four RBI and three runs scored: Brody Self went 4-for-7 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored; White went 3-for-7 with five RBI and a run scored; Noles went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored; Carson Wiggins went 2-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored; Micaiah Myers went 2-for-5 with two RBI and four runs scored; Glasgow went 2-for-6 with an RBI and four runs scored; Wyatt went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored; Mason Coley had four runs scored; and Clark Hodnett had three runs scored.
“Sam and Will have pretty much dominated all year,” said Kennedy. “You know what you’re going to get every time they pitch. Both guys are competitors who are going to give everything they have. Our guys have taken some different approaches at the plate and we’ve been hitting the ball better over the last couple of weeks. We teach a lot of gap-to-gap stuff. Hitting a home run is fun but you’ll score a lot more runs with a double with guys on base.”