Andalusia ends season, falls short to Oak Grove in round two

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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Andalusia forced a third game but fell in extra innings at Oak Grove as the season ended in the second round of the 4A state baseball playoffs on Saturday, April 27.

The Bulldogs close out the year with a final record of 16-12, while the Tigers move to 22-12 on the season.

Game 1: Oak Grove 6, Andalusia 5
Riley Cravey was hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the first of the opening game and followed by a walk to Noah Curry. Brody Black ended the threat with a groundout. Cravey recorded three straight outs in the home half on 14 pitches and kept the game scoreless after one inning.

Connor Ray began the second with a single as Mason Meeks then earned a free pass. Landen Butler reached on a force play before courtesy runner Mason Sheridan scored the first run on an RBI single from Kielan Davis. After a walk to Parker Adams loaded the bases, Michael O’Brien hit into a fielder’s choice, but Butler came home and doubled the lead. Cravey knocked a two-out single as Adams scored on an error and gave Andalusia a 3-0 lead. Cravey struck out the first two Tigers in the home half and needed only eight pitches for a 1-2-3 inning.

Will Dalton was hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position on a bunt from Ray. Dalton took third on a passed ball and then scored the fourth run on an RBI single from Butler. Jeremiah Fuller picked up two outs as the score stayed 4-0. Black opened the third with a walk and reached third on a double by Daniel Hyche. Colton Praytor drove in Praytor on a force play and whittled the margin to 4-1 after three innings.

Neither team scored in the fourth inning. Ray and Meeks tallied back-to-back singles with one out in the visiting fifth, and Davis was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases. Ray crossed the plate on a wild pitch and gave Andalusia a 5-1 lead before Fuller ended the inning on a fly out. Oak Grove crept closer with a pair of runs in the home half. Jimmie Loats cashed in Hyche on a sacrifice fly, and Praytor scored on an error that cut the score to 5-3 with five innings completed

O’Brien reached on a defensive mistake in the sixth before a double play closed the inning. Kyler Pollastrini drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position after another error. Cravey bent but did not break and maintained the 5-3 lead after six innings with two straight outs.

Andalusia put a runner at third in the top half of the seventh but could not score. O’Brien took over on the mound as Fuller took a leadoff walk. Loats and Nathan Winholtz followed with consecutive singles and loaded the bases. Fuller was then picked off at third before a huge strikeout. Collin Pate reloaded the bases with a single as Pollastrini tied the game with a two-run double to left. Black gave Oak Grove the walk-off win with an RBI single and brought home Pate with the winning run.

Ray led the Bulldogs with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate and scored a run. Meeks and Davis each finished 1-for-2 as Cravey was 1-for-3. Butler went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Cravey took a no-decision despite allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and striking out four in six innings of work. Hyche paced the Tigers at 2-for-3 and scored a run.

Game 2: Andalusia 10, Oak Grove 0
Fuller led off the second game with a single but was quickly caught stealing second. Loats walked before Winholtz flew into a double play and ended the first inning. Winholtz needed only 10 pitches for a 1-2-3 bottom half of the frame.

Davis earned two strikeouts in the top of the second and held Oak Grove off the board. Ray, Dalton, and Meeks all walked with one out in the bottom half. Ray came home when Butler also drew a free pass. Andalusia extended its lead to 3-0 after two innings when Dalton scored on a passed ball, and courtesy runner Sawyer Hardy crossed home plate on a wild pitch.

The score remained 3-0 for the next three and a half innings.

Curry reached on a dropped third strike in the bottom of the sixth before Ray singled and set up a walk to Dalton. Meeks slashed an RBI single and drove in Curry. Ray scored the fifth run on a bases-loaded walk to Butler as Davis stretched the lead to 7-0 with a two-run single that brought in Sheridan and Hardy. After two outs, Butler scored on a wild pitch before Wesley Romero came home on a passed ball. Curry ended the game with an RBI single and cashed in Cravey who walked.

Meeks finished 1-for-1 with an RBI as Ray was 1-for-2 with two runs. Davis notched a 1-for-3 showing with two RBIs, while Curry went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Davis earned the win for Andalusia with four hits allowed in six innings and struck out four. Fuller was 2-for-3 for Oak Grove.

Game 3: Oak Grove 5, Andalusia 4
Adams opened the third game with a single but was forced out at second. Cravey walked and put runners at first and second, but Praytor worked out of the jam. Loats reached on a one-out error in the bottom half before Winholtz walked. Butler brought the heat with two straight strikeouts and capped a scoreless first inning.

Praytor retired the Bulldogs in order on eight pitches in the top of the second. Black led off the home half with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt. The Tigers struck first when Hyche hit an RBI single and drove home Black. Praytor walked, but Butler once again stranded two runners and kept the score 1-0 after two innings.

Davis singled and stole second in the visiting third. Adams followed with an RBI single to center and tied the game at 1-1. Following back-to-back steals by Adams, Cravey gave Andalusia a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly. Curry then doubled as Ray was hit by a pitch, but Praytor eluded further damage. Pate evened the score at 2-2 with an RBI double and plated Winholtz. Two outs later, Olen Bryant delivered an RBI single as Oak Grove took a 3-2 lead at the end of the third.

Praytor worked a 1-2-3 top of the fourth inning. Winholtz cashed in Fuller with an RBI single in the bottom half for a 4-2 lead. Adams hit a leadoff homer in the fifth and was the only base runner from either side as the score stood at 4-3 with five innings completed. Neither team scored in the sixth inning.

Davis knocked a one-out double in the top of the seventh before Adams was intentionally walked. O’Brien reached on an error as Davis scored and drew the Bulldogs even at 4-4. Curry delivered a two-out single that loaded the bases, but Hyche struck out Ray and kept the game tied. Tucker Ward set the Tigers down in order on just five pitches.

After a quick top of the eighth, Praytor reached on an infield single in the home half and moved to second on a single by Loats. Winholtz ripped an RBI single and scored courtesy runner Dalton Troncalli with the winning run.

Adams was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs for Andalusia. Davis went 2-for-3 with two runs, and Curry finished 2-for-4. Ward allowed one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Winholtz was 3-for-3 with a run and two RBIs for Oak Grove.