The Vikings clinched the No. 2 spot in Class 5A, Area 12 with an 8-4 victory over Hayden at Valley Park on Tuesday.
The Wildcats stuck with Walker early, taking a 3-2 lead after two innings of play, but pitcher Bryant Atkins found his groove in the third inning, holding Hayden to just a single run over the final five frames.
“We played a little tight early,” Walker coach Pat Ware said. “We were finally able to get that win to put us in the playoffs. That was our main goal this season and we were able to accomplish that.”
Walker will open the postseason at Springville Friday, April 18 in Game 1 of their best-of-3 series.
“The schedule we played early has prepared us to get into position to play good teams, and compete with them, in the playoffs. I’m proud of our seniors and all the guys. They’ve all contributed.”
Against Hayden, Atkins allowed four runs — three earned — on four hits, three walls and a pair of hit batsmen. He struck out 11.
At the plate, four different Walker players had two hits.
Brooks Wade was 2 for 3 with two stolen bases, two runs and an RBI, Logan Nix was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, Bailey Tidwell was 2 for 3 with a stolen base, a run and an RBI, John Michael Reed was 2 for 4 with a stolen base and a double and CJ Robinson was 1 for 2 with a stolen base and two runs.
Walker (15-17) plays a double header starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Hayden. The Vikings play a double header at West Point on Friday and close the regular season with a home game against Hueytown on Monday.
Oakman 2, Lamar County 0
Oakman moved into sole possession of the top spot in Class 2A, Area 11 with a 2-0 home victory over Lamar County on Tuesday.
Case Key shined on the mound and at the plate for the Wildcats. He pitched a five-hit shutout, allowing two walks while striking out five. Key was also 2 for 2 with an RBI.
Key improved to 7-1 on the season, including 3-0 in area play.
“Case did a heck of a job for us,” said Oakman coach Chris Coons.
The Wildcats can clinch the area title with a win at Lamar County on Thursday.
The teams play at 4:30 p.m., If Oakman wins the opener, the Wildcats win the area title. If Lamar County wins the opener the teams will play a tie-breaker for the area championship.
On Tuesday, Jase Trotter 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, a run and an RBI.
Trotter and Brennan Hartley scored runs for Oakman.
Hartley, Caleb Woods and Landon Minor each added hits for the Wildcats.
Oakman (21-5) has four games left in the regular season.
After Thursday’s game(s), the Wildcats will play two games at Holy Spirit on Saturday. Oakman plays the host team at 11 a.m. and Gordo at 1 p.m.
Sumiton Christian 5, No. 6 Marion County 0
Sumiton Christian clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday, and kept its area championship hopes alive with a 5-0 home win over No. 6 Marion County at Blair Field.
The Eagles scored three runs in the first inning. Pitcher Evan Love did the rest, tossing a five-hit shutout. He walked two and struck out four.
“He was lights out,” Sumiton Christian coach Lance Blair said of Love, who starts on the infield when he isn’t pitching. “We really didn’t have (Love) in mind to be one of our big arms this year because he is so good defensively. We feel like we can trust him. He was on his game today, that’s for sure.”
Tuesday’s win puts the Eagles in the playoffs for the 13th time in Blair’s 14 years at the school.
Sumiton Christian (10-9, 6-1) could clinch a home playoff series in the first round with a win at Marion County on Thursday. A loss would give Marion County the area crown.
On Tuesday, Love, Austin Bice and Spencer Black each scored runs in the first inning. Love, Black and Nic Collins each had hits in the frame. The Eagles added two more runs in the fourth inning. Zac Collins and Joseph Thompson both reached base. Tristan Alexander and Love followed with hits to push the lead to 5-0.
For the Eagles, Alexander was 1 for 2, Love was 2 for 3 with a run and both Black and Bice were 1 for 3 with a run.