State Baseball Playoffs: Three area teams open second-round series today
by Johnathan Bentley
Apr 26, 2013 | 1245 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sumiton Christian’s Mikah Abbott heads home from third base during the Eagles’ first-round series against Berry last week. The Eagles host South Lamar in a second-round series beginning at 12:30 p.m. today at the Sumiton Christian baseball field. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Sumiton Christian’s Mikah Abbott heads home from third base during the Eagles’ first-round series against Berry last week. The Eagles host South Lamar in a second-round series beginning at 12:30 p.m. today at the Sumiton Christian baseball field. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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The last time Sumiton Christian and South Lamar met in a playoff series there was a state championship on the line.

Sumiton Christian swept the Stallions nine years ago to win the Class 1A state championship.

Though there are no championships on the line this week, the Eagles are hoping for a repeat against South Lamar when the teams battle in a second-round series starting today at the Sumiton Christian Baseball Field.

The series starts with a double header at 12:30 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, will be played at noon on Saturday.

In the opening round, Sumiton Christian needed three games — and a seventh-inning rally — to get past Berry.

South Lamar also needed three games to eliminate Marion County in their first round series.

Sumiton Christian (18-10) got stellar pitching against Berry with Evan Love, Mikah Abbott and Tristan Alexander allowing five earned runs in 19 innings.

“Our pitching was great in the first round,” Sumiton Christian coach Lance Blair said. “Love gave up one earned run, Abbott threw a good game (giving up three earned) and Alexander was exceptional in third game, giving up one earned run. Our defense was a little shoddy here and there.

“We hit the ball pretty well, too. We got some timely hits, that’s for sure.”

In the third game, Sumiton Christian entered the bottom of the seventh inning down 4-2, but scored three runs on three hits and a key error to earn a 5-4 victory.

South Lamar (17-8), which has advanced to the 1A state semifinals each of the last two years, lost its opener to Marion County, but bounced back with a pair of 8-3 wins.

“They’ve got a good program,” Blair said of South Lamar. “Their program is similar to ours. They’ve got really good fundamentals. They’ve been good for a long time.

“I think we’re going to have to play well. I don’t think anybody in the second round is going to be able to go out there and go through the motions and win,” Blair said.

Since 2009, South Lamar has been to the state semifinals three times and the quarterfinals once.

The Stallions have been put out by eventual state champions Shoals Christian each of the last three seasons.

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Cordova at Winfield

Two weeks ago, Winfield edged Cordova for the Class 3A, Area 14 title.

Today the rivals meet with more than area bragging rights on the line. Cordova travels to Winfield for a second-round, best-of-three playoff series starting today with a double header at 5 p.m. Game 3 will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday if necessary.

In the three-game set between the teams earlier this month, each game was decided by two runs with Winfield winning the opener 5-3, Cordova taking the second game 6-4 and the Pirates winning the third game 4-2 to clinch the area championship.

“This is a rivalry. We know what they do and they know what we do, also,” Cordova coach Ronnie Boggs said. “It’s the second round of the playoffs so everybody will be fired up.”

Cordova’s offense proved too much for Danville in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Blue Devils scored 30 runs in the three-game series. Cordova won the opener 10-1, lost the second game 9-7 in nine innings — after giving up a 7-0 lead — and won the decisive third game 13-3 in six innings.

Winfield (26-8) swept Good Hope, winning 4-2 and 18-6.

Cordova, which has just three seniors on the roster (Zac Guerra, Andrew Minor and Stephen Kilpatrick), has been red hot since the Walker County Tournament in early March.

The Blue Devils were 4-4 after losing their county opener to Curry. They followed by winning 14 of their next 15 games and are now 26-9 on the season.

“Right after the county tournament we won an extra-inning game at Dora. We were down the whole game and came back and won with a lot of clutch hits,” Boggs aid. “They started to understand that they are good ball players. We gained confidence after winning that game.”

Today’s second-round series against Winfield is a rematch of a second-round series in 2011. Cordova swept that series with a pair of home wins.

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Addison at Ragland

The Addison Bulldogs hit the road to Ragland in their second-round Class 1A series starting today.

Addison, which overpowered Donoho in its first-round series, takes on a Ragland team that has lost just three games this season — the second fewest losses of any team left in the 1A state playoffs.

The Bulldogs (18-5) defeated Donoho 10-0 and 12-0 last week while Ragland (16-3) hammered Decatur Heritage 13-5 and 14-6.

Today’s double header starts at 2 p.m. If needed, a third game will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday.