Tigers clawing for final playoff spot

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, April 12, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County High School baseball team is entering its final week of regular season play with everything to play for in front of the Tigers.

The Class 6A Area 6 has proved again to be a stout region with four teams, including CCHS, who are all still alive for the two playoff spots in the region. Furthermore, the Tigers have split both its series against Pelham High School and Calera High School so far this season.

In March, CCHS earned its split with a Tre Fulmer walk off home run in the second game to keep pace after dropping game one at Pelham. The Tigers split the series with Calera winning 7-3 on the road on April 7 and dropping the April 8 game at home 12-4.

“We’ve fighting hard and battling, some things didn’t go our way,” CCHS coach Ryan Ellison said. “We’re hitting the ball hard with people on base, just right at people. We’re playing pretty good just not getting the results we want.”

In game two against Calera, the Tigers got on the board in the top of the first inning when Eian Headley got aboard with a leadoff walk. Sam Smith laid down a perfect bunt to advance Headley to second, and he subsequently scored on a passed ball later in the inning.

Calera posted seven runs the next two and one-third innings. The Tigers score two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Calera held on to the 12-4 win.

It seemed like the small ball game would work early on for CCHS in the game, and Ellison saw an opportunity in that. The Tigers spent a majority of practice Monday perfecting the details giving hitters different situations on the base paths. Tigers players took turns laying down the appropriate bunt to move runners up, trying to perfect the small ball game the Tigers could use to their advantage this week.

“We’re always looking to improve in little facets of the game,” Ellison said. “I felt like we needed a little more work on specific things. Those are things that you don’t think about that much, but when you get into big time situations in the game, they come into play.”

Helena High School awaits CCHS on April 12 and April 14 for the last region series of the year. Helena sits atop the region standings with a 3-1 record, sweeping Calera and splitting with Pelham. Pelham and CCHS both sit 2-2 in the region with Pelham playing Calera the same days CCHS takes on Helena this week. Calera is 1-3 in the region.

The Tigers could jump Helena for the first playoff spot in the region if they sweep the series giving them a 4-2 region record and dropping Helena to 3-3. A split with Helena would put the Huskies in the playoffs, and would leave CCHS at 3-3. The Tigers would have to hope that Pelham does not sweep Calera in its series to move to 4-2 in region play and give them the last playoff spot. If Pelham splits with Calera, there would be a one-game playoff between Pelham and CCHS for the last playoff spots.

In shorter terms, a series sweep would put CCHS into the playoffs and that is the only thing on the minds of the Tigers going into the biggest series of their season.

“We know it’s a big series, and we’re going into it with every intention of sweeping the series,” Ellison said. “I believe in the guys, and I know they believe in themselves that we can accomplish that, we just need to play our best baseball and get ready to go.”