South Lamar sweeps Gaston in quarterfinals
Sat. May 05, 2012 at 12:10 a.m. | By Nick Johnston Sports Writer
Gaston's Gabe Crain tags South Lamar's Ryan Jaynes as he slides into second base during Friday's series. (Photo by (Gadsden Times, Sarah Dudik))
The pain was obvious for the Gaston Bulldogs after being swept by South Lamar on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state high school baseball playoffs.
“It hurts,” Gaston coach Derrick Sewell said, “and it’s supposed to hurt.”
After breezing through the first two rounds of the postseason, Gaston returned home only to get beat by South Lamar 15-5 and 10-3 on a muggy evening at Shinbone Ridge.
Still, not long after his team’s season ended at 15-11, Sewell was looking to the future.
“When they can get over the hurt part of it, I hope they can see it’s a lot to build on for next year,” said the first-year coach, whose team will move to Class 2A next season. “If the guys will work this summer, if they’ll play this summer and just be committed to it, we’ll make the transition just fine.”
South Lamar (21-11) advanced to next week’s semifinal round and will play No. 2 Shoals Christian, which swept No. 6 Cedar Bluff on Friday.
After falling in the first game, Gaston was able to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a wild sequence of events. Sean Love singled and advanced to third on Jackson Bogle’s single to the outfield. Bogle got too far off first on the play and was gunned down from third. Love ventured off third and drew a throw from South Lamar first baseman Hank Parker, which got away from third baseman Kyle Aldridge and allowed Love to cruise home.
South Lamar evened the score in the bottom of the second, but Jordan McCartney gave the Bulldogs the lead back with one swing of the bat. His solo homer in the third was a moon shot that made it over the 335 ft. sign in left-center to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.
Then it all started unraveling.
South Lamar recorded three straight singles to open the third, and Parker ripped a ground-rule double to score Dalton Pollard and Jordan Smith. Holden Fields followed with an RBI single to score Trent Wilson and make the score 4-2 before Gaston could even record an out in the frame.
Ryan Jaynes added a sacrifice fly to score Parker and give the Stallions a three-run lead heading to the fourth.
South Lamar cruised from there, as Jaynes — the Stallions’ starting pitcher — kept Gaston’s bats silent. Jaynes went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out six.
The Stallions added five more runs in the bottom of the sixth, including a two-RBI single by Tucker Holliman down the first-base line before Gaston added a run in the final inning on Gabe Crain’s RBI single to score Eddie Hamilton.
“In the second game, and even toward the end of the first game, we didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes — they were just a good baseball team,” Sewell said. “They hit it where we weren’t.”
The third inning of Friday’s opening game turned into a nightmare for the Bulldogs. South Lamar chased Gaston starter Allen Davidson after sending all nine batters to the plate without getting out and the Stallions scored nine total in the frame to take a 12-3 lead.
Davidson allowed 11 runs on seven hits, struck out two and walked three in two innings of work. He didn’t get much help from his defense, as the Bulldogs committed six errors — including five in the outfield.
“A lot of it has to do with nerves, because typically, we don’t make those kind of mistakes,” Sewell said. “We did not play our best ball, but we played good enough to give ourselves a chance.”
A bases-loaded walk ended Davidson’s day, and reliever Destin Pollard was greeted by Trent Wilson’s two-RBI single. Pollard finally recorded two outs before allowing a two-RBI hit by Jaynes to cap the third-inning scoring.
South Lamar added a run in the fourth before Gaston plated two in the bottom of the frame. Joey McClellan scored when Jesse Brittain was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Crain followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Bogle. The threat ended when Wilson, South Lamar’s starting pitcher, struck out Pollard and got McCartney to fly out to right.
That was all the offense Gaston would get in the game, and South Lamar scored runs in the sixth and seventh via solo homers by Parker and Jaynes.
South Lamar jumped out to a 3-0 by the end of the second before Gaston rallied to tie it. With the bases loaded and one out, Brittain laced a hit to right field, where Kyle Robertson misplayed the hop and let the ball roll to the fence. Dustin Gunter, Davidson and Hamilton all scored on the play.
Wilson earned the win for the Stallions. He allowed five runs on five hits and walked five. He struck out 10 and recorded a four-punchout inning.
He also had a highlight-reel worthy catch in left field after being taken off the mound to begin the seventh. Wilson robbed McCartney of a home run by stretching over the fence and bringing a towering shot by McCartney back into the field.
South Lamar’s Smith had a big game, going 3 for 5 with three RBI and two runs scored. For Gaston, Hamilton went 2 for 3 with a run.