Hewitt-Trussville falls to Mountain Brook
By Erik Harris
MOUNTAIN BROOK — After watching his team fall in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A state baseball playoffs to Mountain Brook, Hewitt-Trussville head coach Jeff Mauldin’s message was simple: life goes on.
He had just witnessed his Huskies come up short in a decisive third game, 3-2, at Mountain Brook High School, yet the veteran coach praised his team, his seniors and his friend on the other side of the chalk — Mountain Brook head coach Lee Gann.
“(Gann’s) probably one of my closest friends in the head coaching business,” Mauldin said. “Unbelievable respect for the guy, he’s like a brother to me. I’m happy for him and his program, he deserves this and I hope they go win it all.”
The two coaches lived together for two years in Missouri before eventually becoming standard-setters in the Alabama high school baseball community.
Both coaches fielded a tough lineup Saturday, but in the end, Mountain Brook had a little more to offer.
Pete Berryman’s sacrifice liner into center field in the second inning, followed by J.D. Kubiszyn’s RBI infield single in the third gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage early.
That score would stand until the top of the fifth when senior left fielder DeMarcus Kelly powered an RBI triple into deep right field. The ball nearly left the ballpark and was good enough to send junior shortstop Carter Pharis from first to home. Spartans pitcher Burt Bellande called it a day after nearly five innings of work.
Kelly was then plated by a Cyle Moore liner back up the middle, which evened the score at 2-2 going into the bottom of the fifth.
Senior Reid Gunter went 4 2/3 innings for the Huskies. The righty surrendered two runs, struck out four and walked a pair. Senior Michael Busby took the ball from there, striking out two with no walks.
Mountain Brook didn’t flinch after surrendering the two-run inning. The Spartans quickly reclaimed the lead in the bottom-half of the fifth. Kubiszyn found his second RBI of the afternoon with a two-out shot that landed in center field and scored Drew Odum for the go-ahead, game-winner.
Mauldin, standing poised in defeat under the afternoon sun, spoke of his high expectations of his senior class.
“One game does not define their season,” he said. “What I hope they do is learn, handle adversity and find a way to succeed. You want them to be awesome dads, awesome husbands and have great jobs. The sun will come up tomorrow.”
The Huskies will return five starters to next year’s roster. After winning back-to-back Class 6A, Area 12 championships, setting the school record for regular season wins and claiming back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in school history, the proud class of 2014 will now go celebrate their prom and admire their great accomplishments.
With the foundation in place, life along with winning will go on for Hewitt-Trussville.