Munford Lions eliminate Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Andalusia Bulldogs saw their season end Saturday afternoon when they fell 10-8 to the Munford Lions in the game three of the first round of the 2017 AHSAA Class 4A state baseball tournament.

After losing the coin toss on Friday night, the Bulldogs were forced to play as the away team despite having home-field advantage.

Ethan Wilson got the Bulldogs started with a single through the right side of the infield.

The Lions pitcher was extremely concerned with Wilson’s speed at first, and fired over several pickoff attempts before ever throwing a pitch to the second Bulldog batter.

It turned out the concern was warranted as Wilson swiped second on the first pitch thrown to Riley Graham.

After Wilson stole second, Graham ripped a single into the outfield that allowed Wilson to score the first run of the game.

Will Jones then drew a walk to give the Bulldogs runners and first and second base.

Hogan Nichols followed with a single to left to score Graham from third.

The Lions then chose to intentionally walk Will Clark in favor of pitching to Garrett Davis with the bases loaded.

Davis struck out but J.W. Jones made the most of his opportunity with the bases loaded.

After squaring around to bunt, J.W. Jones pulled the bat back and proceeded to lace a line drive just over the head of the Lions’ third baseman for a two-RBI single.

Munford got a one-out double in the bottom of the first inning and then scored on a sacrifice fly, but they trailed the Bulldogs 4-1 heading into the second inning.

Graham reached first with one out in the top of the second inning after being hit by a pitch and then moved to second on a single from W. Jones.

Clark then added to the Bulldogs’ lead when he drove in Graham with an RBI single to give Andalusia a 5-1 lead.

The Lions fought back for two runs in the bottom of the second inning and looked to add more, but Nichols threw out a potential base stealer for the final out of the inning.

After two quick outs to start the bottom of the third inning, a single to left along with an error on the play allowed Munford to score another run and cut the Andalusia lead down to 5-4 heading into the fourth.

Wilson reached first off an error to start the top of the fourth inning and then quickly stole second.

W. Jones continued his strong day at the plate with an RBI double to give the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead.

Munford continued to chip away and scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 7-6 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, an error and hit by pitch to start the frame set the stage of the a three-run home run from the Lions that would give them a 10-6 advantage.

The Bulldogs added another pair of runs, but it wasn’t enough to avoid being eliminated from the playoffs with a 10-8 defeat.

“It was typical game-three playoff game,” Andalusia head coach Tyler Dent said. “It’s one of those games where anything can happen. It was a back-and-forth game where we made costly errors and didn’t get the timely hits that we needed. We left too many runners in scoring position and gave too many free passes, and you can’t do that in the playoffs.”

Despite the first-round elimination, Dent said that he was happy with his team’s overall performance.

“I told them I was proud of the way they competed from three games,” Dent said. “We played with a lot of class and heart. These guys really represented Andalusia well. I’m also very proud of this senior class. This was my first class and it has been an honor to be their coach. They are a great group of kids. I hate that it ended like this for them, but they are going to do great things in life.”

Will Jones tags out a would-be base stealer in Saturday’s playoff loss to Munford.
Josh Dutton/Star-News