Maplesville wins battle of Red Devils, advances to second round

Published 7:40 am Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chilton County’s Battle of the Red Devils had just a little more at stake Saturday than just bragging rights; this time, a chance to advance to the next round of the Class 1A playoffs was on the line when Maplesville and Verbena met.

After rains prevented play Friday, the teams took to the field at Verbena for a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon.

Maplesville rode the arm of Colby Chambers in the first game, as he threw a complete game, six-inning performance in which he allowed two hits and three walks on top of 11 strikeouts in an 11-1 victory.

In the second game, Maplesville used a big third inning to propel them to a 12-2 victory.

Both teams traded opportunities to score back and forth through the first two innings before Maplesville exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third (the two teams swapped home and away for the second game).

The Devils batted around, as Zach Bush, Trevor Wallace (who also started on the mound in the second game), Brett Walker, Chambers, Trent Smitherman and Brandon Abbott all made their way around the bases to score within the inning. When the dust cleared, the Red Devils had established a commanding lead.

Neither team showed much offensive power through the next two innings, and in the top of the sixth, Verbena’s bats showed signs of life, as Jared Mims hit a ground-rule double over the left field fence. After Wallace walked Adam Heflin, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Bush came in relief, and proceeded to walk the bases loaded, allowing Verbena to score two, making it 7-2.

With the bases loaded, Smitherman was brought in to relieve Bush, and got Cole Mims to ground out to end the inning.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Maplesville’s bats came back to life as the Devils added four more runs to end the game early.

Coach Brandon Shanks said the combined 22 hits in the two games was what his team needed going forward.

“I thought we hit the ball better,” he said. “It just seemed the like the ball wasn’t falling [the last few games]. It was like everything we hit was at people. We weren’t struggling to make contact, just finally the ball started falling [into play] today.”

The Devils will now go on to face Billingsley in the next round. Shanks said it was a matchup his team has been hoping for.

“Billingsley beat us out in the area, beating us two out of three in area play,” he said. “Those were some tough losses, so we’re hungry to match up with them again. I think it’s a big incentive [to face] someone we play and know.”