By David Knox, Sports Editor
PINSON – The Pinson Valley Indians were faced with a familiar first-round foe in the Class 6A state playoffs.
The Indians swept Walker’s Vikings last year on their way to a semifinal berth. But this time the Indians were on the wrong end of the broom.
Walker took a 3-1 decision in game one on Friday and rallied from a two-run deficit in the sixth inning to grab a 9-4 win in the nightcap, bringing a disappointing end to a terrific season for Pinson Valley.
The Indians wrapped up their season 22-18 with an Area 12 championship, but no state trophy. The Indians went 32-15 last season before losing in the semifinals to Cullman.
Walker next hosts Clay-Chalkville on Friday.
In the opener, Vikings pitcher Bryant Atkins allowed just one unearned on three hits and four walks while striking out seven in seven innings.
Walker (25-13) scored single runs in the second, third and sixth innings.
Pinson Valley got on the board when Rudd Mauldin singled home Blake Sisson in the seventh inning, but the rally ended there.
The Indians struck early in game two Friday, plating three runs in the first. Jody Graves, Jakob Box and Jacob Ingram each drove in runs for the 3-0 lead.
Walker scratched back for a run in the second to cut the lead to 3-1. But the Vikings, whose pitchers walked 11 Indians, forced another run in on bases on balls in the top of the sixth as PV lead 4-1.
But in the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings exploded for eight runs, two apiece driven home by Joseph Daniel and Jackson Holladay.
With the season’s end, Indians fans must say goodbye to seniors Graves, Ingram and Corey Stevenson.
But coach Shane Chappell has a solid nucleus of 10 seniors to build his 2017 team around.