BOBCATS WIN AREA CROWNPublished 12:44am Saturday, April 6, 2013
Zane Hollinghead was due for a hit.
Hollinghead connected on a 1-0 pitch for a clutch RBI double to score the game-winning run for Opp as the Bobcats beat Straughn 8-7 to win game two and the Class 3A, Area 2 championship on Friday night.
The sun had already set on a thrilling game, where OHS scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to break Straughn’s 4-2 advantage to lead 7-4.
Straughn answered back in the bottom of the seventh with three runs to force the game to go to extra innings.
Opp needed only one inning and Hollinghead needed only one hit that would score Holt Hall, who reached on a walk with an out.
Britt Buckelew came in and got the save in the bottom half of the frame, striking out two — one being the final hitter — and allowed no hits.
With the game two win, the Bobcats won the right to host the first round of the state playoffs. SHS will travel in the first round.
“Straughn is a class act,” OHS coach Michael Cassady said. “It was a good series. I’m proud of my kids and my coaches.
“(Hosting the first round of the playoffs) was what we were fighting for,” he said. “Our kids stayed focused, along with our coaches, and they gave us a chance to win.”
In the final game and for the sweep, the sixth-ranked Bobcats beat the Tigers 7-5.
Ethan Davis allowed seven runs on 10 hits and struck out one in a complete game to earn the win.
Straughn’s Keith Edgar allowed four runs on six hits, while striking out four in 6.1 innings to take the no decision. Chase Short came in and allowed one run in the eighth to earn the loss.
“Keith Edgar did a good job on the mound for them,” Cassady added.
The Bobcats started their five-run seventh with a single from Brady Vidich. Hall got a single up the middle and Colt Harrell then laid down a nice bunt up the third-base line to load the bases with no outs.
Hollinghead, who finished with two RBIs, got his first RBI after reaching on a walk to cut the lead to 4-3.
Davis, who had two RBIs on an 0-for-4 night, hit a fly out to deep right that scored Hall to tie the game at 4-all.
The Tigers made a pitching change and Tucker Lawless came in to relieve Edgar.
On his first pitch from Lawless, Opp third baseman Dakota King singled to score Harrell for the Bobcats first lead of the game.
Hollinghead and King would later score on an error with two outs to give OHS a big 7-4 lead.
Not willing to give up just yet, Straughn got to work with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the game in Opp’s hands.
Johnny Owens got hit by a pitch and Edgar singles to put runners on. Lawless then nailed a single to right to score Owens; and Taylor Messick hit a two-run single to score Edgar and courtesy runner Austin Worley to tie the game at 7-7.
After Hollinghead got the eventual game-winning hit, Short got out of a bases-loaded jam by forcing a fly out to right field.
Opp improves to 20-4 on the season, and won its second area championship in a row last night. Straughn fall to 14-14 on the season.
This is the fourth year in a row for Cassady to have 20 or more wins.
Straughn was in command from the start of the game when it plated three runs in the first inning on four hits.
Daryl George singled and later scored on Short’s single to left center. Short and Owens, who reached on an error, scored on back-to-back singles from Lawless and Messick.
In the third inning, the Bobcats tacked on two runs on an error and a ground out.
Defensively for SHS, the Tigers got two double plays — one in the second and the other in the sixth — that started on fly outs. Edgar started the double play in the second inning; and Messick bobbled a catch and threw the runner out at first after tagging up in the sixth.
SHS led 4-2 after George scored on a Short double in the fifth inning.
Vidich led OHS in hitting and went 2-for-4. Jacob Johnson, King and Hall had one hit each.
Messick went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to lead SHS. Short and Lawless went 2-for-4 each.
In the 7-5 victory, Opp’s Walker Messer allowed three hits and struck out three in three innings for the win.
Brady Jowers got the save and allowed five hits, while striking out four in three innings.
Hollinghead went 2-for-4 with a triple and a single; and everybody else on the team had a hit.
Straughn, who tallied 12 hits, was led by Messick, who went 3-for-4. Edgar went 3-for-3.
Straughn visits Dale County on Monday, while Opp hosts Andalusia on Tuesday for regular season doubleheaders.