By Ronald Frazier
Glenwood completed its final week of the baseball regular season with a 5-1 record and will now play one more regular season contest before opening the second round of playoffs to defend their AISA class AAA baseball title.
The Gators, who now stand at 33-6, had one game left with Calvary on April 23 in Columbus and now open the second round with a doubleheader today versus Monroe Academy at 4:30 p.m. at Bill Bowers Park. It will be a best two of three series and if a third game is needed, it will be on Friday.
Glenwood earned the top seed in the region and therefore received a bye in the first round while Monroe eliminated Bessemer Academy to earn the right to play the Gators.
Glenwood started the week with two games versus two different opponents onApril 16. The Gators defeated Edgewood, 11-2 and then lost an unusual game against Macon East 7-1, also played at the Wildcats Field.
In the 11-2 win, Luke Davis was the winning pitcher, going five innings and allowing only two runs while striking out nine batters, Jake Melton then finished the last two innings allowing one hit and striking out three more.
The Gators hit the ball well with Jalen Williams powering a home run and knocking in four runs and Andrew Tillery hitting another home and knocking in three more. Catcher Bryce Valero also did some damage as he had two doubles and two RBI as well.
The next game was a bit of a quandary. Tillery started the game against Macon East and had a no-hitter until the fifth when the bottom dropped out. The normally good fielding Gators allowed five unearned runs in the 5th and a 1-0 lead became a 5-1 deficit. Tillery had 12 strikeouts in the loss. Reliever Nick Adams, who had the only RBI for Glenwood, pitched two innings and gave up two runs but struck out batters for five of the six outs in those last two frames. Glenwood pitching struck out 17 of the 21 outs made but the Gators lost the game.
“I’m not sure I have ever been a part of a game like that,” said Glenwood coach Tim Fanning later,” It was just one of those games. I liked the way we bounced back after that.
Glenwood returned home on April 17 and made short work of Abbeville Christian as Melton started this game and gave up only two hits and no runs in a Gator 12-2 victory that was stopped in six innings.
Melton was followed by Chase Baker, who gave up two runs in relief and Jody Druash who finished the game.
Tillery hit his second home run of the week and was credited with three RBI in the big win.
After an off day, the Gators hosted Heard County of Georgia for “Senior Day” and all seven Gator seniors and their parents were honored before the game began. And one of those seniors had a special at bat as well.
Senior Kyle Coker, who had a shoulder injury and was expected to pitch this year, had not been in a varsity game. He came up in the 6th inning and stroked a solid single with the bases loaded as Glenwood expanded their 3-0 lead to 7-0 with a four-run rally.
Coker was going to stretch it to a double but the runner at second was held up and Coker was tagged out before he got back to first but not before he knocked in a run. He still got a big cheer and a hand when he returned to the dugout.
“He hasn’t gotten to play all year and got a little excited. That was great because he is a good guy and wanted to help the team,” Fanning said after the game.
The other seniors were Adams, Liam Carbone, Williams, Tillery, Slade James, and Baker.
James started and went the full seven innings, shutting out Heard County on three hits while striking out 10 batters. He got out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th when Tillery caught a soft fly for the final out of the game and Carbone preserved the shutout with an outstanding double play started in the third.
James, Adams and Williams all had two hits in the game and Brooks Barton was three for three with a triple.
Glenwood finished the week on the road with a twin bill win over Mount Vernon School. The first game was a 7-5 victory with Adams the winning pitcher and Valero coming from behind the plate and going to the mound to get the save. James helped the cause as he went three for three with a home run and three RBI and Trevor Crisco, Baker and Barton all had two hits.
The second game was not as close as the Gators took a 7-1 win and John Wesley Lahr got the victory on the mound for the Gators. Barton continued his hot hitting going two for three with another triple and Jacob Harper and Bryce Newman also had two hits each.
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”20″ gal_title=”Glenwood Vs Abbeyville”]