By Coley Lauminick
The march through the baseball playoffs continue Friday night for Hewitt-Trussville High School as they dispatched Vestavia Hills in two games for the Huskies’ second sweep in as many weekends. Hewitt (30-9) now moves on to round three.
Huskies’ Talley continues dominance, shuts down Vestavia Hills
Alec Tally got the call from his head coach Jeff Mauldin to be the starting pitcher for the first game of round two in the best 2-of-3 series against the Rebels. Talley did not let his coach or team down as he kept the Vestavia Hills Rebels offense off balance, going six innings while giving up four hits and allowing no runs and striking out five batters and walking three batters. He only threw 91 pitches while improving his record to 8-1 on the season.
“He is not the most intimidating figure on the mound, but he throws three pitches consistently for strikes and the kids have a lot of confidence with him on the mound,” Mauldin said of his junior righty.
Talley did face some tough moments during the game, but credited his teammates for picking him up.
“I got in to trouble in the middle of the game and was struggling,” Talley said. “I had walked two straight batters, but I knew my defense was going to make a play behind me to get us out the jam, which they did.”
Hewitt jumped out to a early lead as Will Pharis, who went 1-3 in the game, doubled to right field scoring Jasen White (2-3) to give the Huskies a early 1-0 lead. It was the third game in a row that White has led off the game with a walk as he then stole second base.
Demarcus Kelly, who went 1-2, with an RBI, and scored a run, got on base in the second when he was hit by a pitch and then he took second after a wild pitch by the Vestavia Hills Parker Blalock.
White, with one out singled to right field scored Kelly to extend the Hewitt lead to 2-0.
In the third inning, Kelly came up to bat for the second straight inning where he singled, scoring Conner Cox who had reached base on a force play to put the Huskies up 3-0.
In the fourth inning, senior second baseman Dakota Harwell, who was 2-3 with 2 RBI, tripled to right center field scoring Riley Stokes and Brent Robson to put the Huskies up 5-0. Stokes and Robson had both been hit by pitches by the Vestavia Hills Parker Blalock to get on base.
“Coach said it was just another game nothing different, and we won the game,”Harwell said. “It was the best two games stretches at the plate in my whole career. Once you get in a groove like that, you gain a lot of confidence. You’re just feeling it and can’t wait for your next at bat.”
The game one win pushed the Huskies to a school record 29 wins on the season against nine losses.
Harwell’s hot bat helps Huskies advance to third round
Visiting Vestavia Hills’ only bright spot of the whole night came in the first inning of game two as second baseman Price Vistintainer doubled and then scored on a double by William Wheeler to give the visiting Rebels a early 1-0 lead. Then is was all Huskies, all night.
In the second inning, senior second baseman Harwell continued his dominance at the plate leading off the inning with a double, his first of two in the game.
“The only thing that ruined the night was when I could not get down a sacrifice bunt and struck out,” Harwell said of his 5-7 two game performance.
Carter Pharis and Cyle Moore then each singled scoring a run to put the Huskies up 2-1 .
In the fourth inning, Conner Cox would get the eventual game winning hit as he connected on a 340- foot shot to left field, his second of the season giving the Huskies a 4-1 lead.
“It was a fast ball,” Cox said. “Coach was telling us to look for a fastball. He threw a 0-1 fastball in the same spot and I thought ‘this is it.’ It felt very good when I hit it.”
Pharis, who singled following the Cox homerun, would score after being sacrificed to second on a Jasen White double to give the Huskies a 5-1 lead
The Rebels would score in the bottom of the inning, cutting the Huskies’ lead to 5-2 going into the top of the seventh inning.
Hewitt would add to their lead after loading the bases when pinch hitter Brett McCarty hit a two run double to right field to put the Huskies up 7-2.
“Coming off the bench- and he had not swung the bat in a week- and he came up with a big two out base hit, scoring two runs,” Mauldin said of McCarty’s plate appearance. “He knows his role. That’s one thing I am proud of about these guys. They accept their role on the team. They accept it and they have great team chemistry and we just had a bunch of guys just step up tonight.”
Grayson Jones, who relieved starter Bill Brown in the sixth inning, got in a jam in the seventh as he allowed two base runners, but he was bailed out by Harwell and Pharis when they turned a double play to end the game.
The Huskies now advance to play at either Grissom or Oxford, who were tied at 1 game each with game three on Saturday. The win added to the school record win total, giving HTHS a 30-9 mark on the season.
Hewitt-Trussville athletics director Karen Johns said the 585 tickets sold were the most ever for a Huskies’ home baseball game. It was announced during the game that it was largest crowd ever for a Hewitt-Trussville home baseball game .