East-West game comes down to final outBy Staff Reports Published 9:25am Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The East team took a 6-5 win over the West that wasn’t decided until the final out during the East-West all-star baseball game on Saturday at Jack Hayes Field in Clanton.
The game was sponsored by the Clanton Evening Lions Club and the Clanton Lions Club.
Junior and senior baseball players from Isabella, Thorsby and Jemison high schools composed the West squad, while the East squad was represented by juniors and seniors from Chilton County High School, Maplesville and Verbena.
Players were substituted freely, with both teams using numerous pitchers in the 9-inning game. The East won a 6-5 decision that was not decided until the last out with a Chilton County player making two outstanding defensive plays to secure the victory for the East Team.
Maplesville’s Trent Smitherman led his team at the plate, going 3-for-4 and being named the East Most Valuable Player.
Smitherman and his East teammates built early leads of 2-0 and 6-2 before the game got interesting.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the West team’s Shane Howard (Jemison) scored to cut the lead to 6-3, setting up an exciting ninth inning.
In the ninth inning, the East team had runners on third base (Maplesville’s Colby Chambers) and second base (Smitherman) before they were stranded and failed to score as the West got the third out on a strike out.
In the bottom half of the inning, the West squad excited the crowd with what appeared to be a game-winning rally. Thorsby’s Bo Hoffman was hit by a pitch to start the rally. His Thorsby teammate Parker Bryan followed with a hard hit ball to East third baseman Tyler Crowson, of Chilton County, who could not complete the play, allowing Bryan to reach on an error.
Trey Calfee drew a walk to get on base before Jemison’s Jacob Hatch singled. Hoffman and Bryan would eventually score to cut the lead to 6-5.
The East team now had runners on first and second with no outs and cleanup hitter Matt Morgan of Thorsby coming to the plate. Morgan, who had already been on base three times with a double and two walks, now was in a position to give the East team the lead.
At this point the game turned on two defensive plays by Crowson. Morgan hit a sharp grounder that Crowson was able to handle with runners coming his way. The crowd knew he would be able to force out the runner at third, but he was also able to throw on to first to retire Morgan for a double play.
Trouble lingered because Hatch (the potential game-tying run) was still on second base with one more out to get for the victory. Thorsby’s Denham Childress came to the plate for the East team. Crowson would again be tested, when Childress hit a hard grounder destined for left field and a tie game. Crowson then followed up his previous gem with an even better play as he dove to his left to snag the ball before throwing Childress out at first to preserve the 6-5 victory.
Thorsby’s Brantley Maddox started the game on the mound for the West team and was 1-for-3 at the plate to earn West team MVP honors.
Jemison’s Justin Caudle was 1-for-3 to contribute for the West team. The East team was aided by Maplesville’s Brett Walker (2-for-4) and Brandon Abbott (1-for-2), and Verbena’s Jacob Montgomery (1-for-2).