By Mark Clark
Two down, two to go. That is what the Phenix City Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball League’s 11U all-stars are facing now that the squad has won both the district and state tournament titles. The team will head to Sheffield, Arkansas July 11-14 for the region tournament with hopes of advancing to the league’s World Series in Treasure Bay, Fla.
Phenix City defeated Florence Blue 5-1 to claim the Alabama State Championship last Sunday in Florence. The squad also defeated Florence Silver twice and Jackson to go 4-0 in the tournament.
The 5-1 score in the title game was the closest the Phenix City team came to a loss. The team started the state tournament with an 11-0 victory over Florence Silver. They beat Jackson 22-1 in the second game. In the semifinals, Phenix City met Florence Silver once more and again won 11-1 to advance to the championship game.
So far, the Phenix City team has been rolling over opponents with dominant pitching and plenty of hitting. The team has outscored its opponents 102-6 through nine games. They outscored their opponents at the district tournament 53-3 and 49-3 at the state tournament. At the plate, Phenix City out-hit its opponents 39-6 at the state tournament in four games.
“We have been clicking on all cylinders. We have had dominant pitching and hit the ball well. Going into each of the tournaments, we felt if we pitched well we could win them both. Pitching has been our strength so far. Our team is pitching heavy. I thin we have at least eight kids we can use on the mound,” Phenix City coach Jason Judah said after his team won the state title.
The core of the pitching staff includes Carter Judah, Tommy Irving, Christopher Biggs, Logan Wallace and Tommy Glasspoole.
“Those are the guys we have used the most so far, but we have others we can call on when we need them. We pitch well and hit well, but our pitching has really been lights out so far,” Judah said.
Judah also said the squad had played good defense and said a diving catch by Cameron Dawson along the right field line prevented Florence from scoring at least two more runs in the title game. The play came at a time when Phenix City’s hitting was not as potent as it had been in previous games.
Phenix City scored in the second and fifth innings of the title game while holding Florence Blue to a single run over the course of the game. Florence scored first in the top of the second inning. Phenix City tied the game in the bottom of the frame. Glasspoole doubled and came in to score on back-to-back ground outs.
Phenix City put the game away in the fifth inning with four runs. Glasspoole started the inning with a single. Gavin Oswalt followed with a single. Glasspoole stole third and scored what would be the winning run on a ground out by Tyler-Mark Bullock. Brody Wells doubled to drive home Oswalt. Wallace walked to put runners at first and second bases. Wells stole third and scored when Irving had a bunt single. Mac Blair had a pinch-hit single to drive in Wallace for the game’s final run.
Glasspoole was the winning pitcher, allowing four hits, striking out four, allowing one run and did not walk any Florence batters.
At the plate in the title game, Glasspoole was 2-for-2, Blair was 1-for-1 and Oswalt and Wells were each 1-for-2.
In the 11-0 opening win over Florence Silver, Judah was the winning pitcher. He gave up one hit, struck out six and walked none. Wells was 2-for-3 to lead the team at the plate. He had a double and two RBI. Blair, Oswalt, Glasspoole, Biggs, Bullock, Wallace and Bryson Sheppard were each 1-for-2.
In the 22-1 win over Jackson, Irving was the winning pitcher, going two innings with one strikeout. Blair relieved an inning and struck out two. Sheppard was 3-for-3 with two RBI. Judah was 2-for02 with four RBI.
In the semifinal victory, Phenix City beat Florence Silver 11-1 with Wallace tossing a no-hitter. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. Biggs and Wallace were both 2-for-2. Judah was 1-for-1 with a triple. Glasspoole was 1-for-2 with a double. Biggs also had a double.