Published 12:15 am Saturday, April 26, 2014

Andalusia players welcome Bulldogs coach Tyler Dent (far right) into the post-game huddle Friday night.

Andalusia players welcome Bulldogs coach Tyler Dent (far right) into the post-game huddle Friday night.

MOBILE — Grayson Campbell hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to help lift Andalusia to a 7-6 game two victory and sweep over UMS-Wright Friday night in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 4A state playoffs.

The senior shortstop, who was battling the stomach bug all day, said he felt a lot better after getting the game-winning hit an inning after he committed an error that helped score a run.

“I let that error (go) to (let UMS) score that one run in the top of the sixth, and it felt real good to come through for a guy (AHS senior pitcher Quinton Maddox) who pitched his butt off on the mound all day,” Campbell said.

To get in the driver’s seat, Andalusia pounded the ball 17 times in game one to win the first game, 12-7.

With these victories, AHS advances to the third round, where it will face Childersburg next Friday night.

AHS baseball coach Tyler Dent used one word to describe what it took to win game two.

“Execution,” Dent said. “Once again, Quinton Maddox on the mound — can’t say enough about him. You can’t say enough about this whole team, this whole coaching staff. It was a total team effort from top to the bottom.”

Maddox started the final inning with a double to right, and was replaced by speedy courtesy runner Will Harrison in the final game of the night.
Campbell said he didn’t feel nervous at all when he then stepped up to the plate.

“I felt like I had a job to do, and was focused on it,” he said.

The ball clanged off of the metal bat and grounded to the right side, and UMS made a good play on it as the Mobile team threw the ball home in the hopes of a tag out.

Harrison trucked it around third and slide safely despite the play at the plate. When the umpire called safe, the Andalusia bench erupted.

Campbell said it was a moment every player “dreams” about

“I think it’s a dream moment for every baseball player to get that big hit at the end of the game for your team,” he said.

In the fourth, Maddox hit a two-run single to right, and Brandon Smith laced an RBI single to left to help lead AHS to a five-run frame and a 6-2 lead.

UMS-Wright, who has been at the stage before, didn’t back down for in the sixth, pinch hitter Peyton Martin hit a two-run triple to cut it to two, and Connor Jednat hit an RBI double to left to tie the game at 6-all. Courtesy runner Henry Vanhaneghan scored on Campbell’s error earlier to make it a 6-5 game.

Behind another strong pitching performance from Maddox, Andalusia’s defense stepped up when it had to, making good plays and retiring UMS in order in the top of the seventh.

In the first inning, UMS scored one run on a Troy Dixon RBI triple.

Andalusia answered in the bottom-half of the frame with an RBI double from Maddox.

Maddox went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead AHS; Smith went 2-for-4 with an RBI; and Ross Graham laid down a good bunt in the fourth to score a run.

Dixon went 2-for-3; and Chauncey Callier went 2-for-4 with a triple to lead UMS.

During game one, Andalusia scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 8-3 lead in a contest where it tallied 17 hits.

Daniel Henderson stole home to lead AHS in the fourth, and Brayden Burkhardt, Jud Rogers and Campbell had an RBI each in the same frame.

UMS cut the game to 9-7 in the bottom of the sixth when it scored three runs on an error. Walker Watts had a sac-fly RBI in the inning.

After UMS would score runs, Andalusia answered and held up its end in the field.

Smith went 3-for-5; Maddox went 2-for-5; Henderson and Campbell went 2-for-3 each; and Graham went 2-for-4. Hunter Earnest went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

“I would’ve never thought we would’ve hit the ball like that, but the boys came out and had aggressive approaches at plate and did a great job,” Dent said.

The Bulldogs (22-10) scored three runs in the second after UMS scored two in the first of game one, and tacked on three insurance runs for Andalusia’s Justin Scherzinger, who earned the win on the mound in the opener.

Andalusia was sparked in game one by Graham, who threw out back-to-back runners going to second on a steal for pick offs.

Scherzinger gave three earned runs on six hits and struck out two while walking one in the complete game.

Maddox, in game two, struck out five and allowed six runs on five hits in seven innings.

“That’s the best two games we’ve played all year,” Dent said.

Andalusia will travel to play Childersburg in the third round Friday.