By Johnny Sanders, Sports Editor
SPRINGVILLE – Traveled to Hayden this past Tuesday and then welcomed them to Springville for a double-header on Thursday evening to complete a 3-game series with the Wildcats, getting the edge with 2 wins and one loss.
In the first game, Springville dominated Hayden in an 11-1 game on the Wildcats’ own field. The Tigers would open the game by taking a 4-1 lead in the first inning. Zack Brown would get hit by a pitch to get on base followed by a Tanner Oakes single that brought Brady Gillespie to the plate, where he would hit a double to right field and bring Brown home for the opening score. Asa Morrison would hit a triple to center filed driving in Gillespie and Oakes to make it 3-0 Tigers. Kade Willis would ground out to second base, Morrison would check up and score the fourth run of the inning for Springville. Hayden would answer with one run of their own in the first to make it 4-1 Springville.
The Tigers would score another run in the second on a fielder’s choice to second base that was hit by Gillespie, driving in Grant Martinez. The third would be scoreless and Springville would have another single-run inning in the fourth when Morrison hit a sacrifice fly to center field, driving in pinch runner Carter Samuelson to make it 6-1.
Springville would pour it on in the fifth when Brown drove in Ty Harrison, Oakes was walked with the bases loaded to bring home Jake Conner, Gillespie hit a ground out that would score Martinez and Alex Holland hit a fly ball single to right field to bring in Brown and Oakes.
“We got off to a really good start by scoring 4 in the top of the first. This really set the tone for the day,” said Springville coach Jonathan Ford. “Zach Brown and Alex Holland collected 2 hits apiece while Brady Gillespie had a double and Asa Morrison a triple. Gillespie went all 5 innings allowing only 2 hits while striking out 6.”
In game 2, the first game of the Thursday night double-header at Springville, the Tigers would not be so fortunate, falling to the now-visiting Wildcats 8-5.
Springville allowed 2 in the first and 3 in the third to let Hayden jump out to a 5-2 lead. The Tigers got 2 runs in the fourth and 1 in the fifth, but could not completely stop the Hayden bats as the Wildcats continued to get at least one run in each inning until the seventh. Zach Brown had 2 hits and 2 RBI in his 4 trips to the plate while Asa Morrison had 3 hits and 2 RBI in his 4 trips.
Carter Samuelson took the loss for the Tigers, toeing the rubber for 4 innings and allowing 6 runs on 4 hits with 6 strikeouts before A Holland came in to finish the game with 2 runs on 3 hits and 4 strikeouts.
Coach Ford said, “This is one of those games you look back and can’t believe it took place. We out-hit them 14-7 but due to physical and mental mistakes, Hayden capitalized and we could not get over the hump.”
Springville would win the tiebreaker in game 3 by 2 runs, 4-2, despite digging a 2-0 hole to start the game. Going into the third, Hayden still held the 2-0 lead over Springville but Gillespie hit a single to center field that scored Brown and then Hayden would commit an error that would send Gillespie home to tie the game at 2 each.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers would take the lead after Morrison hit a single to third and Gillespie crossed the plate. Springville’s defense would hold serve, continuing to keep Hayden away from home plate and, in the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers would close out the scoring on a single from Conner that would bring home Holland.
Kade Willis would get the win for the Tigers, pitching the complete game. He gave up just 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6 batters.
“Hayden got 2 runs in the first, but Kade Willis settled in and shut them down the rest of the way. We tied the game in the third and scored one in the fifth and sixth to finish out the scoring,” said Coach Ford. “Gillespie and Morrison each had two hits. We definitely wanted to be 2-0 in area after the first week but winning game three is big if the tiebreaker comes into play. All 4 teams are 1-1 after week 1 of area.”
The Tigers, now 8-6, invite Fort Payne to Springville on Tuesday.