Maplesville edged out in semifinals

Published 7:59 pm Friday, May 11, 2012

Senior Jared White pitched the entire second game, which was won by St. Luke's, 7-5.

Maplesville ended its deep playoff run in heartbreaking fashion: down by two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with bases loaded.

The Red Devils dropped the second game at St. Luke’s, 7-5, after losing the first game by the same margin, 5-3.

The visiting team had a chance, though—a base hit by Brett Walker loaded the bases with two outs in the last inning. The play on his hit went to second base, where Trent Smitherman slid in and was called safe; however, he fell off the base and was tagged out to end the game.

The Red Devils had to battle back in Game 2 after a strong second inning by the Wildcats, which saw four triples, a double and four runs.

Maplesville answered the runs with a solid sixth inning of their own, scoring three and tightening the score to 7-5.

Maplesville coach Brandon Shanks talks hitting strategy with sophomore Brandon Abbot.

“It was two tough ones today,” said Maplesville coach Brandon Shanks, adding that he has proud of the fight his team showed late in the game. MHS was down 6-2 after four innings.

“They’ve had that fight, that aggressiveness all season,” Shanks said. “When adversity hits, a true championship team has to overcome, and they showed that today by fighting back. They made a good stand for Maplesville High School.”

Jared White pitched the entire second game, while Colby Chambers was on the mound for all of Game 1.

Maplesville took the early lead in both contests. In the second game, a popup by Brandon Abbott scored Aron Smitherman to put the Red Devils up 1-0 before the Wildcat’s bevy of points in the second inning.

The teams traded runs in the third. MHS got its run from White, who headed home while Chambers was thrown out stealing second base.

St. Luke’s added runs in the top of the fourth and sixth innings, before the Red Devils rebounded.

Singles by Chambers, Trent Smitherman and Damian Mitchell, aided by some sloppy fielding by St. Luke’s, helped Maplesville add its three runs, which would be the last of the game.

The Red Devils came out on fire in the first game, going up 3-0 before St. Luke’s slowly started to come back and the Maplesville bats cooled.

MHS didn’t put any more runs on the scoreboard, while St. Luke’s tallied one run in the first inning and two more in both the third and sixth innings to make the game 5-3.

Maplesville kept it tied until the bottom of the sixth, when two dropped balls proved costly, giving the Wildcats the advantage again.

Though the losses hurt, Shanks gave props to St. Luke’s players and coaches and said it’s been a great season of Red Devil baseball.

“This is a great group of kids…the most fun group of kids I’ve had the opportunity to coach,” Shanks said. “They were very coachable and had great attitudes and played as a unit and that grew as the season went on.”

The young team loses three seniors to graduation later this month.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we can be right back here next year,” Shanks said. “We’re full of sophomores, a couple of eighth-graders. With the experience they got in the quarters last year and the semis this year, that will go a long way with us.”

It’s been 2001 since Maplesville played in the baseball semifinals. Last year, they lost in the quarterfinals to St. Luke’s.

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