Huskies drop Game 1 to Auburn 4 -1
By Justin Nails, Trussville Tribune Sports
MONTGOMERY —An error-filled top of the sixth inning gave Auburn just enough juice to pull out a game one 4-1 win at Paterson Field in the 7A state championship game.
Carson Skipper and the Huskies got a quick start going three up, three down. Skipper began the first inning off retiring the side with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out.
After two groundouts to Auburn shortstop Clayton Phillips, Hewitt-Trussville’s Tyler Mauldin singled on a grounder to deep second base but was left stranded as Michael Fowler grounded out to pitcher Brooks Fuller.
Both teams couldn’t get anything going in the second and third innings but it was the Huskies who struck first in the bottom of the fourth. After Skipper singled to center field and was replaced by pinch hitter Austin Bittle, Fuller tried to pick Bittle off at first but throws a wild pitch allowing Bittle to advance to second. Tyler Mauldin took advantage of the opportunity singling into left field scoring Bittle and putting the Huskies ahead 1-0.
Mauldin was then caught in a pickle by Fuller but was able to reach second base on an errand throw by Tigers first baseman Carter Hunt. Michael Fowler was then walked and Caden Kirk advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt. Auburn decided to load the bases by walking Jacob Bishop, not taking any chances with the left fielder. The decision paid off as Davis Burgin hit a grounder to third baseman Jackson Arnold who tagged his base and was still able to throw Burgin out at first. After the game, Fuller praised his defense saying “That play by Arnold gave us a huge momentum boost.”
With both teams struggling to move runners around the bases, Auburn received some much needed help by the Huskies defense in the top of the sixth. Teddy Benda lead off the inning with a double to deep right center. Jake Waters attempted a sacrifice bunt to move Benda over to third. As Skipper fielded the ball, he threw a wide throw to third forcing third baseman Caden Kirk off the base and Benda reached safely. Carter Hunt then singled threw a hole at shortstop allowing Benda to score and tying the game at 1-1.
With runners on first and second, Jones bunted again to Skipper who threw the ball away again this time to first base allowing Waters to score. With the lead at 2-1, Clayton Phillips singled to center field scoring both Hunt and Jones giving Auburn a 4-1 lead.
The three-run lead was all Fuller needed as he finished the complete game striking out eight, walking just three batters, and allowing just one earned run on four hits. Skipper also struck out eight giving up four runs on five hits in the losing effort.
Tyler Mauldin lead all Husky hitters going 2-for-3 with one RBI. Auburn’s Clayton Phillips lead all Tiger hitters going 2-for-3 with two RBI’s.
After the game, both teams were aware that tonight was just one game. Huskies head coach Jeff Mauldin said that “Today was just one battle and Auburn won the battle today. Tomorrow we’ll see who can win the war.”
Game two will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium. Game three, if necessary, will follow.