Tigers’ season ends at Spanish Fort

Published 9:34 pm Friday, May 11, 2012

Chilton County catcher Craig Headley watches as Spanish Fort players celebrate their Game 1 win Friday in the semifinal round of the state playoffs.

Chilton County’s deepest playoff run in 21 years came to end Friday with two losses at two-time defending champion Spanish Fort.

A back-and-forth Game 1 lasted nine innings and ended with the Toros on top, 6-5. The Tigers (35-9) couldn’t pick themselves up off the mat after such a gut-wrenching loss and fell in Game 2, 13-0, as their season concluded in the semifinal round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs.

“I think that pretty much took the wind out of us,” CCHS coach Josey Shannon said about the first loss. “I’m proud of them. I couldn’t have asked them to fight any harder.”

Headley and teammates charge out of the dugout to greet Sawyer Cahalane at home plate after his fifth inning home run tied Game 1.

Spanish Fort’s Shane English reached base on an error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 and scored on a single up the middle, past Chilton County’s diving shortstop J.D. Minor, by Blain Crain to end the game.

Spanish Fort, hosting the best-of-three series, staked an early 2-0 lead off CCHS pitcher Blake Teel.

Sawyer Cahalane tied the game with a home run in the top of the fifth inning that plated he and Trenton Bishop, who walked.

But Spanish Fort answered right back in the bottom half of the inning, knocking Teel out of the game and then scoring two runs on a single by Daniel Rose, who was a thorn in the side of the visitors all day long.

Rose went 3-for-4 at the plate, scored two runs and drove in three runs in the first game. He often set the table for Jesse McCord, who went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.

CCHS took the lead, 5-4, with four hits and walk in the top of the seventh inning. Cameron Cummings’ two-run single up the middle was the hit that gave the Tigers the lead, but an important play happened earlier in the inning, as Teel was gunned down at home plate for the first out on a throw from right fielder Tate Godwin to English.

Had Teel scored and CCHS gone into the bottom of the seventh with a two-run lead, McCord’s double that scored Rose wouldn’t have tied the game and sent it into extra innings, where the Toros ultimately won.

Chilton could manage only one hit, by Cummings, against McCord in Game 2, while Spanish Fort pounded out 12 hits against three different CCHS pitchers.

When asked what he would tell his players after the season-ending loss, Shannon could only reply, “That I love them.”

Spanish Fort (35-8) will play the winner of the Southside-Gadsden and Hartselle series for the state championship.

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