Tigers bow out of playoffs

Published 12:18 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

Zack Lunsford.jpg- Straughn's Zack Lunsford throws to first on grounder Friday night in Mobile.

MOBILE — UMS-Wright advanced to its third straight Class 4A state championship game Friday night with a doubleheader semifinals sweep over top-ranked Straughn.

The Bulldogs came out early, and took a 2-0 early first game lead. Straughn tied the game up 2-2 in the top of the sixth innning, but the Bulldogs added two runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal a 4-3 first game win.

“It was a lot of fun,” SHS head baseball coach John Fussell said about the season. “There were four teams left today, and now there are two. Unfortunately, we’re not one of them.

“Our guys competed,” he said. “I don’t want to let tonight overshadow what they’ve accomplished. They’ve accomplished a lot. They’ll go on to bigger and better things now.

“It’s been a blessing. The worst thing about not going to state is that I won’t be with them three or four more days,” he said.

Instead of packing it up, and driving back home today, Fussell said the team requested they be able to watch the Lady Tigers compete at the south regional tournament in Gulf Shores.

“Every single one of them a while ago said they wanted to go to Gulf Shores (today),” he said. “We’re going to be there for them now. If the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be there for us.”

UMS-Wright’s bats, which have helped the Bulldogs during the playoffs this season, came around in the second game, beating the Tigers 11-1 in six innings.

UMS-Wright 11, Straughn 1

Chase Williamson allowed one run on two hits and struck out eight to lead the Bulldogs.

“Our kids really believe when Chase goes to the mound, and score runs early, he’s going to put it on the map,” UMS-Wright head baseball coach Brett Boutwell said. “The bats have been there all playoffs. They started in the second game in the first round of the finals, and they’ve been there ever since.”

Straughn’s only run came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Nick Allen scored on an error.

UMS-Wright took a 5-0 lead after the second inning, scoring two runs in the first inning on RBIs from Tucker Ward and Will Majure, and added three runs in the second on a two-run double from Ward, and an RBI single from Williamson.

Ward led the Bulldogs going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

In the fourth inning, UMS-Wright put the game way out of reach for the Tigers, adding four runs on five hits.

T.J. Dixon led UMS-Wright with a walk, and later scored on a throwing error by Straughn’s Andrew Burleson.

Luke Dunaway came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Williamson.

Ward and Majure later scored on a single by designated hitter Brandon Vernon to end the scoring drive for the inning.

“That hurt us,” Fussell said about the fourth. “UMS has a great baseball team. They’ve got a good club. I’m not taking anything away from them.”

Straughn’s Josh Dewrell and Zack Turvin had one single each for the Tigers.

Dixon was 3-for-3 and Walt McKeen was 2-for-3 for UMS-Wright.

UMS-Wright 4, Straughn 3

Straughn’s Cody Hughes hit an RBI single, and UMS-Wright committed a throwing error to score the tying run for the Tigers in the top of the sixth inning.

The Bulldogs added two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and Straughn scored one run in the top of the seventh.

Luke Fussell was 2-for-4 and Turvin was 2-for-3 for the Tigers.