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Calhoun County Baseball: 1+2=3

Alexandria’s Nic Thompson pops up after scoring on a passed ball during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinals series at Sardis. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Alexandria’s Nic Thompson pops up after scoring on a passed ball during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinals series at Sardis. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Sardis, AL – Top-ranked Alexandria, No. 2 Sardis split first two games of their best-of-3 Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis. Game 3 Thursday.

By Joe Medley

One expects things when the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the state play each other in a baseball playoff series.

Game 3? That’s to be expected.

Andrew Allen allowed no earned runs in seven innings as top-ranked Alexandria won Game 1 of its Class 5A quarterfinal series against No. 2 Sardis on Wednesday, but Sardis’ Conner Lowery pitched a two-hitter to outduel Alexandria’s Tripp Patterson as the Lions prevailed 4-1 in eight innings in Game 2.

The winner-take-all Game 3 is Thursday at 6 p.m. Both teams will face Game 3 for the first time in this year’s playoffs.

The winner moves on to play host to the Russellville-Springville winner in the semifinals.

While Alexandria spent Allen and Patterson on Wednesday, the Valley Cubs will have Ian Cartwright, Brayden Thacker, Bray Goode and Justin Campbell with fresh arms. Samuel Henegar worked the last third of an inning in Game 2 but has pitches to spend.

Whoever pitching-rich Alexandria trots out to the mound will need the Valley Cubs to find the offensive groove it carried into these playoffs.

“I think we’ve got to be a little bit tougher, so we’ll see what tomorrow holds,” Alexandria coach Zac Welch said. “We have to get better at the plate. Our guys that we know can get the job done will have to get the job done.”

Allen allowed six hits with four strikeouts in Game 1 Wednesday, and he got all the support he needed. Goode and Aiden Brunner each went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

All four Alexandria runs came in the fourth inning, and Allen made it stand.

Patterson, who pitched a masterful nine innings in the Calhoun County final against Oxford, worked two outs into the eighth inning in Game 2. The last batter he faced, Blaze Gerhart, drew a two-out walk to load the bases and pushed Patterson just over his pitch limit.

Henegar came on and issued two bases-loaded walks before getting Trey Thornton to pop to center field.

Sardis’ eighth-inning rally started with the help of an Alexandria error and Lowery beating out a slow dribbler down the first-base line. After Patterson struck out Kaden Walters, Sardis regained the lead, 2-1, on Derek Tarvin’s RBI single.

Alexandria went down in order in the bottom of the eighth.

The Valley Cubs literally stole their lone run. Ian Cartwright reached on a double, beat out a throw to take third base on Henegar’s pop to right field and scored when he and Evan Snow executed a two-out double steal to tie the game 1-1.

Lowery didn’t instantly detect the double steal but threw to second base in time to get Snow. The field umpire ruled a missed tag, and Sardis coach Kevin Vinson drew an ejecting after coming on the field to argue.

It all went into the drama that sent a much anticipated series to Game 3.

“I wouldn’t expect anything different,” Welch said. “This is what the fans probably wanted to see, and I’m excited for the opportunity to come up here and compete.”

Alexandria’s Nic Thompson pops up after scoring on a passed ball during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinals series at Sardis. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Alexandria’s Nic Thompson pops up after scoring on a passed ball during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinals series at Sardis. (Photo by Joe Medley)

 

Top-ranked Alexandria goes on the road to play No. 2 Sardis in a much anticipated Class 5A quarterfinal baseball series.

Photos by Joe Medley

Alexandria catcher Aiden Brunner tags a Sardis runner out during Wednesday’s Game 1 of their Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria’s Nic Thompson pops up after scoring on a passed ball during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria’s Aiden Brunner follows through on an RBI double against Sardis during Wednesday’s Game 1 of their Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria pitcher Andrew Allen comes out of his windup during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria center fielder Ty Brown runs down a fly ball in right-center field during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria shortstop Brodie Slaton makes a stop during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria’s Evan Snow watches his hit during Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Valley Cubs’ Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria assistant coach Trey Phillips pumps the Valley Cubs up during a break in the action in Wednesday’s Game 1 of their Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria pitcher Tripp Patterson goes to work in Wednesday’s Game 2 of Alexandria’s Class 5A quarterfinal series at Sardis.
Alexandria fans fill up the third-base side of Sardis High School’s baseball stadium for Wednesday’s Class 5A quarterfinal series.
Alexandria fans fill up the third-base side of Sardis High School’s baseball stadium for Wednesday’s Class 5A quarterfinal series.

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