By Gary Lloyd
MONTGOMERY — Their backs are against the wall…again.
No. 10 Hewitt-Trussville lost a heartbreaker in Game 1 of the AHSAA Class 6A baseball championship series 3-2 to No. 5 Pelham on Friday night at Paterson Field.
Today, the series shifts to Riverwalk Stadium for a 4 p.m. Game 2. Hewitt-Trussville (34-12) will have to win that game to force a decisive Game 3 at 7 p.m.
First-year Hewitt-Trussville head coach Jeff Mauldin said after Friday night’s loss that he isn’t worried about being down a game in the series. Hewitt-Trussville lost the first game of its third round series at Grissom and the first game of last week’s semifinals series against Hoover.
“We’ve got a very mature team, a senior-led team,” Mauldin said. “I’m not worried about it at all. We’re going to come out and play our best baseball and see what happens.”
Pelham pitcher Thomas Lowery, who will play collegiately at UAB, was dominant in Game 1. He allowed one earned run on three hits in a complete game win, striking out 10 Huskies. At one point, he retired 14 consecutive Hewitt-Trussville batters.
Hewitt-Trussville got two hits from senior third baseman Connor Cox — including a solo home run — and a single from senior center fielder Jasen White to lead off the game.
The Huskies will need to find their offense today to keep its chances at a state championship alive. Outside of Hewitt-Trussville’s three hits Friday night, it managed to hit just three balls out of the infield — two fly outs to center field and one to right field. Senior first baseman Will Pharis, the team’s batting average leader, was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in Game 1.
Keeping Pelham center fielder Fletcher Johnson, Pelham’s leadoff hitter, off the base pass will be key, too. Johnson was 3-for-4 with two runs scored Friday night. He also stole three bases.
- Weather in Montgomery today may include scattered thunderstorms and a high in the mid-80s. There is a 50 percent chance of rain in the late afternoon and evening.
- Hewitt-Trussville fans, who wore all black Friday night, are expected to have a “red out” today.
- Pelham pitcher Thomas Lowery pitched a perfect game his sophomore season, when Mauldin was the Panthers head coach. Mauldin called Lowery a “bulldog on the mound.”
- Hewitt-Trussville is 8-3 in the Class 6A playoffs so far. Its three losses are in the opening games of the past three series. Cox said being down 1-0 in the last three series is the team’s “driving force.” “We don’t want to go out coming this far,” Cox said. “We want to go out on top.”
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