State Baseball Playoffs: Walker stays alive, forces Game 3
by Johnathan Bentley
Apr 26, 2014 | 1449 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker's Taylor Whitley takes a swing against Mortimer Jordan during game one of their best-of-three playoff series on Friday. The Vikings lost the opener 5-2 and won the nightcap 5-4. Game 3 will be held at 1 p.m. today. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Walker's Taylor Whitley takes a swing against Mortimer Jordan during game one of their best-of-three playoff series on Friday. The Vikings lost the opener 5-2 and won the nightcap 5-4. Game 3 will be held at 1 p.m. today. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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KIMBERLEY — Walker was just three innings away from elimination at Mortimer Jordan High School Friday night.

After losing Game 1, in their best-of-three series, Walker trailed 4-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning in the second game.

The Vikings had one last rally left in them, and put it to use, scoring a pair of runs in the fifth. Walker made the lead stand, sending their Class 5A second-round playoff series to game 3 set for 1 p.m. today.

Walker will turn to pitcher Bryant Atkins to keep the season going.

Today’s winner takes on Cullman in the third round next week.

“Any time you are in an elimination game like that, you play to the last out. That’s what our guys did. I’m proud of them for fighting back. We didn’t let the scoreboard dictate how we played.”

Walker dropped Friday’s opener,  5-2 before edging Mortimer Jordan 5-4 in the second game.

In the nightcap, Mortimer Jordan jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third.

Walker (22-19) cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Jackson Holladay and CJ Robinson led off with singles. After a Logan Nix fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. John Michael Reed was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Brooks Wade followed with a single to left field that scored both Holladay and Nix. Wade scored on a two-out error off the bat of Bailey Tidwell to make the score 4-3.

In the fifth, Nix and Reed both reached on singles. Nix scored on an error while Reed came in on Wade’s RBI single for the go-ahead run.

Nix slammed the door from there, blanking the Blue Devils over the final two innings, allowing no hits and a walk.

Tidwell got the win, giving up four runs — one earned — on six hits, one walk and one hit batsman. He struck out six in five innings.

Wade finished the game 2 for 3 with three RBIs, Nix was 1 for 2 with two runs and a stolen base, Reed was 1 for 2 with two runs, Holladay was 1 for 2 with a run, and Robinson was 1 for 3.

For Mortimer Jordan (34-13), Brandon Couch was 1 for 3 with a double and two RBIs.

Wes Crawford took the loss in relief.

Walker got off to the start it wanted in the opening game. The rest of the game didn’t go as planned.

Walker built a 2-0 after the first inning, but was held to just two hits over the final six innings by pitcher Dylan Jones as the Blue Devils won 5-2.

Jones gave up just three hits and walked two while striking out seven Walker batters.

The Vikings struck for two runs in the opening inning. Reed drew a one-out walk and scored on Wade’s triple. Stone Stephenson followed with a sacrifice fly to center field for the 2-0 edge.

Mortimer Jordan cut the lead in half in the second inning and pushed four runs across in the third inning to take control of the game.

Maverick Bahrick got the start for Walker and lasted into the third inning. He was pulled after allowing a pair of singles to start the frame.

Holladay entered the game with two runners on base and allowed a pair of singles as Mortimer Jordan notched the game at 2-2.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Holladay got Mortimer Jordan’s Garrett Davis to hit a slow roller to third base. However, the throw home was wild allowing two Mortimer Jordan runners to cross the plate for a 4-2 lead.

After hitting the next batter to load the bases, Holladay got out of the inning, allowing only a sacrifice fly the rest of the way.

But the damage was done.

The Vikings weren’t able to mount a rally on offense.

Walker did get a boost from its defense.

Left fielder Atkins threw out a runner at the plate to the end the fourth inning and Walker retired Mortimer Jordan’s Andrew Warren to lead off the fifth. Warren tried to turn a double into a triple and was thrown out on a relay throw from Wade to Holladay, who was covering third base.

Wade finished 1 for 3 with a triple and a run while both Hicks and Taylor Whitley were 1 for 3.

Today’s game will be the sixth of the season between the Blue Devils and Vikings.

“We’re going to show up (today) and give it our best effort. Whatever happens, happens. We feel good with Bryant on the mound. He’s been good all year. If we figure out a way to score some runs, I like our chances,” Ware said.