GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS: Red Level sinks McKenzie for playoff berth

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Red Level Tigers secured a playoff spot on Thursday afternoon after knocking off the McKenzie Tigers 6-1 in McKenzie.

Senior Colten Dorman spun a gem on the mound as he limited McKenzie to just one hit in the complete-game performance.

“We played solid defense behind Colten,” Red Level head baseball coach Todd Smith said. “He pitched the complete game and only gave up one hit. He displayed a lot of leadership for us, and our boys rallied behind him.”

In the bottom of the first inning, Chris Shufford led off the frame line drive single up the middle. It would be the last and only hit that Dorman allowed.

McKenzie moved Shufford to second with a sacrifice bunt, and then an error allowed Shufford to score McKenzie’s lone run.

Red Level loaded up the bases off three straight two-out walks, but Shufford picked up a strikeout to end the threat.

Dorman was throwing darts in the bottom of the second inning as he fanned the side in order.

Kale Mancill led off the top of the third inning with a single to right field.

Red Level used a little small ball with a sacrifice bunt from Kade Green to move Mancill to second base.

Chance Russell evened the game up with a line drive to right that led to a McKenzie error.

On the error, Mancill scored and Russell moved all the way around to third.

Dorman helped out his own cause when he sent a ground ball to short that allowed Green to score and put Red Level on top 2-1.

In the bottom of the third inning, Dorman picked up right where he left off with another strikeout, but ran into trouble after back-to-back walks.

The first walk was issued to the speedy Shufford, who quickly found himself on third base after a pair of steals.

Dorman proceeded to induce a ground ball back to the mound.

After looking the runner back at third, Dorman fired to first for the second out of the inning.

The next batter harmlessly popped up to left field for the final out of the inning.

Braxton Lee drew a one-out walk for Red Level in the top of the fourth inning to get the visiting Tigers going.

Shufford then got a strikeout for the second out of the inning and Lee still standing at first.

Dylan Scruggs followed with a line drive triple to right that brought Lee around to score for a 3-1 Red Level advantage.

A few batters later, Green roped an RBI single to center to give Red Level a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.

Dorman continued his strong outing with another strikeout and scoreless inning of work in the bottom of the fourth.

Ramsey Morrow and Lee singled to get things going for Red Level in the top of the fourth inning.

Zack Phillips then extended the Red Level lead with a two-RBI on hard ground ball to center field.

With the way Dorman was pitching, a five-run lead was more than enough for Red Level to cruise to a 6-1 victory.

“These boys were determined to make the playoffs,” Smith said. “That was one of our team goals at the beginning of the season, and they made that happen.”

Smith said he was pleased with what he saw from his team.

“We played with a lot of energy,” Smith said. “We got some hits from the top of the lineup to the bottom of the lineup. That is an area where we needed to improve. In the past few weeks, we had been leaving a lot of runners on base. It was good to see our hitters adjust and step up to the challenge. I’m so proud of these boys. They have really matured and come together as a team.”

Phillips finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.

Dorman and Green each finished with one RBI.

Dorman worked all seven innings to earn the victory as he struck out nine batters and didn’t allow a single earned run.

The Tigers will travel to Sumiton Christian on April 21 and 22 for the first round of the AHSAA Class 1A baseball state tournament.

Times for the games have yet to be determined.