Season over for Tigers

Published 11:59 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

Straughn’s season ended last Friday night during the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs in Headland.

The Tigers were defeated by the Rams, 6-4 in the first game and 7-3 in the second game.

Straughn finished its season with an 18-14, 2-2 in Class 3A, Area 3 record.

Headland 6, Straughn 4

The Tigers were down 4-0 early in the first game, but came back to score four runs in the fourth inning to make it even.

“I was proud of the way we battled in the first game,” Straughn coach John Fussell said. “The way we came back and tied it up. We had 15 hits in the first game. We out hit them 15-10.”

Straughn’s Josh Dewrell had two singles, one double and one RBI; Cole Armstrong had two singles and one RBI; Nick Allen had three doubles; Tyler Yelverton had one double, two singles and one RBI; Drew Jones had one double and one RBI; Chase Parker had one single; Luke Fussell had one single; and Levi Lumpkin had one double.

Dewrell took the loss for the Tigers, pitching 3.0 innings and allowing five hits, two walks, four runs and striking out four.

Cody Hughes came in to relieve Dewrell, pitching 3.0 innings and allowing five hits, one walk, two runs and striking out four.

Headland 7, Straughn 3

Straughn’s pitchers had trouble with control in Game 2, as the Tigers allowed a combined eight walks in seven innings.

“In the second game we had eight walks spread out between two pitchers and it’s hard to win when you walk eight guys in a seven-inning game,” Fussell said. “We just didn’t seem to be as sharp on the mound. I give Headland credit. We knew that they had a good hitting team. They beat G.W. Long this year and they beat Dadeville who is ranked No. 5 or No. 6 in (Class) 3A.

“So, you know we’ve come so far because we felt like we were as good as them if not better and we thought we would win,” he said.

Straughn’s Josh Dewrell had one double and two RBIs; Nick Allen had one single and one double; Tyler Yelverton had one double; Drew Jones had one single; Chase Parker had one double; and Luke Fussell had one single.

Zack Stinson took the loss for the Tigers on the mound, pitching 3.0 innings and allowing five hits, three walks, five runs and striking out two.

Cody Hughes came in to relieve Stinson, pitching 4.0 innings and allowing four hits, five walks, two runs and striking out three.

Fussell said his team had slow starts in both games, because of Headland’s early leads.

“In both games, Headland jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning,” he said. “We started off kind of in the hole and we only made one error in both games. We played as good a defense as we have played all year.

“We hit the ball exceptionally well,” he said. “If you look at it, we hit the ball well in the first game, but we didn’t have hits when we needed them the most.”

Fussell said he is looking forward to next year because of the experience his team will have.

“We won’t be young next year,” Fussell said. “There’ll be six or seven juniors that have been starting since they were in eighth grade. I’m starting to see some maturity in them. We still have to work with selfishness. We still are learning how to play as a team. We actually played like a team Friday night.”

On the season overall, Fussell said he would liked to have gone further in the playoffs.

“It’s been our best record since I’ve been here (three years),” he said. “We made it to the first round three years in a row. We won our county tournament and beat some schools we haven’t ever beaten or haven’t beaten in a long time.

“I would like to see us go further in the playoffs next year,” he said. “I truly feel like that this team has the potential to go a lot further next year than they did this year.”

In July, Fussell will travel to the North-South All-Star baseball game in Huntsville as an assistant coach.

The game will be played on July 13.