Red Level playoff bound

Published 12:01 am Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Level’s Troy Nolen pitched a complete game, and got the win to help lead the Tigers to a playoff berth. Red Level will travel to face Flomaton next week in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

He knew he had to ice his shoulder Thursday night and early Friday morning in order to start for Red Level against New Brockton.

Come game time, RLS head baseball coach Tony Ingram made the right call in starting the junior pitcher.

Troy Nolen struck out three batters and allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings to help lead the Tigers to an 11-2 area victory over New Brockton Friday afternoon.

“I didn’t know if Troy was going to be able to start,” Ingram said. “It was pretty much a game-time decision.

“We watched him throw, and rubbed him down,” he said.

With this victory, Red Level clinched a berth in the Class 2A state playoffs, and finished as the runner up in its area with a 5-3 record. The last time Red Level was in the playoffs was in 2008.

Red Level will travel to play Flomaton in the first round of the playoffs next Fri., April 22 in a best-of-three series.

Behind the plate, Red Level junior Troy Grissett hit four singles and was 4-for-4 with one RBI to lead the Tigers.

Red Level punched the air out of New Brockton’s tires from the start scoring five runs in the first inning off an RBI single from Nick Nolen; a single from Grissett; and RBI walks by Hayden Dubose, Raheem Bullock and J.T. Hall.

Ingram said scoring the five runs in the first inning was a big “key” for the team in its win.

“When you play a team that’s not won a lot, and can stay on them and get them to have the mentality like, ‘oh, here we go again,’ then that’s a good thing,” he said. “(New Brockton) a young team, and I think they’ll be good down the road.”

Behind Nolen’s performance on the mound, the Tigers got key outs in the third inning on a double play and managed a pick off in the fifth inning at first for a big out.

Ingram said his team’s defense in the field looked great.

“I thought we played well in the field,” he said. “Usually, I have something to gripe about, but I don’t have anything to complain about.”

Red Level scored two runs in the third inning on RBI singles from Richard Chauvin and Dubose to score Grissett, along with Chauvin to take a 7-1 lead going into the fourth.

The Gamecocks scored their second run in the fifth inning on an error.

Jordin James earned the loss for New Brockton, allowing four runs on five hits in one-third of an inning.

The Tigers added three runs in the bottom of the fifth on a sac grounder by Hall, an error by New Brockton and an RBI single from N. Nolen.

Red Level sealed the win in the bottom of the sixth on a baulk by pitcher Nathan Credille.

N. Nolen was 2-for-4 with two RBIs; Chauvin was 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI; Dubose was 1-for-1 with two RBIs; Bullock had one RBI; Hall had three RBIs; and T. Nolen was 2-for-5 with two runs.

Ryan Boop was 2-for-3 with an RBI for New Brockton.

“There’s a lot of pressure off of us now,” Ingram said. “We’re going to use next week to get ready for Flomaton. Everybody’s now 0-0.

“I’m proud of them,” he added. “I’m proud of the way they fought, and we’ll see what happens Friday.”