No. 6 Westbrook Christian faces top-ranked Section in 2A playoffs


Westbrook Christian’s Jake Kilgo connects for a hit during last week’s first-round series against Fyffe. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times)


By Nick Johnston and J.J. Hicks

Times Sports Writers

Can Westbrook Christian make it three in a row?

The eighth-ranked Warriors will try to eliminate No. 1 Section for the third straight year today in the second round of the Class 2A Alabama High School Athletic Association state baseball playoffs.

The best-of-three series is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Section High School. If the teams split, the series will be decided with a game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Westbrook Christian (19-12) and Section (26-4) met in the second round last year with the Warriors winning Game 3 to advance. Westbrook swept the Lions in 2011 in the first round.

Both teams advanced out of the first round with relative ease. Westbrook Christian got a pair of shutout wins — 10-0 and 11-0 — against Fyffe. Section beat West End 17-2 and 12-1.

The Warriors will rely on solid pitching to advance, with Mikhail Cazenave likely getting the start in the opening game. He’s been Westbrook’s ace all season. Game 2 will feature either Jake Kilgo, Blaine Beaird or Matthew Reaves.

They’ll face a lineup nearly identical to the one they saw last year, as Section starts eight juniors and two seniors who all returned from last season.

Chase McRae is a senior shortstop and is considered to be one of the team’s top hitters. Chris Manning and twins Ross and Luke Anderson also are solid players for the Lions.

At pitcher, Westbrook will see Heath McRae and Cody Goff. Both are juniors and started in last week’s sweep of West End.

McRae and Goff will face a talented Warriors lineup with big-game experience. Alex Perkins, Jordan McCartney and Jonathan Ford had multiple hits last week against Fyffe, with McCartney going yard in the second game. Kilgo, Reaves and Cazenave, along with Kyle Leonard, Tyler Pankey and Clay Templeton, have proven to be tough outs during the season.