Gators reach title game of Border Wars

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By Ronald Frazier

Glenwood made the championship game of their Border Wars tournament but were shut out by Bessemer Academy as the Rebels won 7-0 to win the tournament crown.

Both teams had 3-0 records going into the title game, but the Rebels were designated the home team as they had the tiebreaker with most runs scored. Bessemer scored three runs in the first off Jake Melton, who made his first start and the Gators never recovered.

“They hit a three-run bomb in the first inning and it went downhill from there,” said Glenwood coach Tim Fanning after the contest.”It seemed that everything they hit found a hole and we hit it right at them,”

Getting that three-run homer was Bessemer’s Jake Evans.

Landon Russell relieved Melton and gave up four runs and Bryce Valero came from behind the plate and pitched two scoreless innings to complete the contest.

Glenwood got only three hits in the contest. They were by Russell, Wes Johnson and Trevor Horne. 

“Trevor did swing the bat well and also pitched well for us in the tournament” reported Fanning.

To get to that title game, the Gators took three straight wins starting with a run-rule 12-2 victory over Baconton School. Although he gave up two runs, Horne threw a five inning no hitter as Baconton scored on a sacrifice fly and groundout. It was only Horne’s second start of the year.

“Just like his last game, Trevor threw strikes and we got into a good rhythm on defense and the game just followed. He did get a little tired at the end (when Horne allowed the two runs) but got right back into the groove after the first three batters,” said Fanning of his sophomore left hander.

Meanwhile, Glenwood started scoring in the third inning and never stopped. Valero and Trevor Crisco had the big bats for the Gators with Valero getting three hits and three RBI and Crisco two doubles and two runs batted in. Glenwood had 11 hits total. 

The win was especially sweet as Baconton no-hit the Gators in a pre-season scrimmage game in February.

The Gators then played two games on the 9th to get to the title contest. In the afternoon, the Gators broke a 1-1 tie by scoring eight runs in the fifth inning to beat Bethlehem. B.J. Snellgrove had the mound for Glenwood and threw 96 pitches and allowed only three hits and struck out eight. 

Wes Johnson was one for two with an RBI as Anthony Torres, Hone and Valero also had big hits in the fifth inning explosion. Crisco scored a run and had two RBI even though he did not have a hit in the game.

In the second game of the day, Glenwood stopped Heritage of Newnan, 8-3.

The game was called after five innings due to time limit. John Wesley Lahr picked up his second win and had 10 strikeouts.

Crisco was two for three with a double and three RBI while Valero was one for two with a triple and two RBI. Horne also had two hits in three trips.

The Gators were to play two games earlier in the week but one; the game in Cusseta against Chattahoochee County was cancelled due to bad weather. 

On March 5, the Gators traveled to Auburn and lost their first area game, 9-8 to arch rival Lee-Scott.

“The game was just ugly for both sides,” said Fanning of the tough loss. “It was damp and cold and got colder as the night progressed. It just was not a well played game.”

The Gators scored three runs in the first to jump ahead but Lee-Scott got four back and led 9-5 going into the seventh inning. Glenwood scored three runs to rally in the seventh but could not push the tying run across.

Luke Davis was the losing pitcher and went four plus innings and Melton finished up for the Gators. Lance Nutter was the winning pitcher for the Warriors and was also their leading hitter, going three for five and knocking in four runs.

Crisco had three hits in four trips with two doubles for Glenwood and Johnson and Torres also had two hits for Glenwood.

“Right now we just need to play some games. We have a lot of new players that are stepping into starting roles and because of rain and cold, we have cancelled several games. We just need to play games and play together as a team,” said Fanning of his 2019 charges.

Glenwood (6-3) was to play a non-conference Southland Academy of Americus. That game was called due to rain. The Gators were to host Springwood Academy in an important area game on March 12.  With the loss to Lee-Scott, the game against the Wildcats is important for area seeding.

Following the Springwood game, the Gators will travel to Prattville to play in the Autauga Academy Wood bat tournament. They are scheduled to meet Autauga and Tuscaloosa Academy for the first two games of the tournament.