Bulldogs advance to round two with sweep over Handley

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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The Andalusia Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the 4A state playoffs, scoring a sweep over Handley in the first round on Friday.

Game 1: Andalusia 8, Handley 5
Andalusia had to battle back from an early deficit in the first game against the Handley Tigers.

After both teams went scoreless in the first inning, Handley led off the second with a single and then took a 2-0 lead when C. Arnett sent an Andalusia pitch over the left field fence for a two-run homer. The Tigers scored another in the inning to put Andalusia in a 3-0 hole.

In the bottom of the second, Andalusia’s Connor Ray led off with a single and that was followed by a walk to Landen Butler. Mason Meeks laced a single to left field, scoring Ray for the Bulldogs’ first run. After Cade Cassady came in as a courtesy runner for Meeks, Kielan Davis kept things going, reaching on a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Dadeville caught a break with a double play, but did give up another run to make the score 3-2 at the end of the second inning.

Benjamin Cravey got two strikeouts for the Bulldogs to record a scoreless top of the third.

The score remained 3-2 until the bottom of the fifth when Andalusia took its first lead. The inning began with consecutive singles by Parker Adams and Michael O’Brien. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice by Cravey. Andalusia tied the game 3-3 on a sacrifice fly by Noah Curry. With two outs, the Bulldogs got some clutch hitting with an RBI single by by William Dalton and that was followed by Connor Ray lacing a double to score Dalton, lifting Andalusia to a 5-3 lead.

The Bulldogs kept things going in the bottom of the sixth. A walk a hit batter started the inning. Consecutive singles by Cravey and Curry led to two more runs as Andalusia upped its lead to 7-3. Later in the inning, Andalusia made it 8-3 when Mason Sheridan scored on a wild pitch.

After an error and a single in the top of the seventh, Handley scored two runs to cut into the Bulldog lead, 8-5, but O’Brien, who came in as a reliever, got the final out with a strikeout.

Cravey earned the win for the Bulldogs, pitching 6.1 innings and striking out seven. O’Brien recorded the save after getting the final two outs.

Andalusia had 11 hits in the game. Ray went 2-for-4 with a double, run scored, and an RBI. O’Brien was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Curry went 1-for-2 with two RBI. Cravey was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Adams went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Game 2: Andalusia 4, Handley 2
Andalusia secured its spot in the second round of the state playoffs with a 4-2 win in the second game against Handley Friday night.

Batting in the top of the inning for game two, Andalusia quickly took the lead. Adams led off and reached after getting hit by a pitch. O’Brien reached on a sacrifice, but the Adams was called out going to second. Cravey followed with a single to left, putting runners at first and second with one out. O’Brien gave Andalusia a 1-0 lead, scoring on a single by Curry while Cravey moved to third. The Bulldogs loaded the bases on a walk by Ray, but Handley got the strikeout to escape the inning.

After giving up a walk to the first batter he faced, Kielan Davis struck out three consecutive Tigers in the bottom of the first.

After a quiet second for the Bulldogs, Handley got things going in the bottom of the inning. A passed ball led to Handley’s first run and then took 2-1 lead on a ground-out to second.

The Bulldogs had to wait until the top of the fifth to get back on the board. A single by Ray brought home O’Brien to tie the game at 2-2.

Andalusia took the lead and completed the game’s scoring in the top of the sixth. Davis got things going with a lead-off triple to left field. With one out, he scored on a sacrifice fly by O’Brien, giving Andalusia a 3-2 edge. After a single by Cravey, he would come in to score the final run of the game on a hit by Curry.

Davis would hold Handley in the sixth while O’Brien secured the save sitting down the side in the seventh inning, securing the 4-2 win for the Bulldogs.

Davis got the win on the mound, pitching six innings, surrendering two runs, one earned, and eight strikeouts.

Curry went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI.  Cravey, Ray and O’Brien each had two hits for the Bulldogs. Davis also had two hits, including a double.

Andalusia (15-10) will travel to Bessemer to take on Oak Grove (20-11) in the second round on Friday with the first of the three-game series set for 4 p.m.