Billingsley advances to Sweet 16 with sweep of University Charter

Published 1:23 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Billingsley High School swept University Charter School 2-0 in its first round series of the AHSAA Class 1A state baseball playoffs on April 20. The win puts the Bears into the Sweet 16 round.

It was a slow start to game one for both teams as the game remained scoreless through the first four and a half innings. In the bottom half of the fourth inning, Billingsley’s offense woke up.

Marshall Headley broke open the scoring with an RBI single, and Kyle Boice had a two-RBI single to go up 3-0 later in the inning. The next batter, Landon Jones, roped an RBI double to score a run and an error scored Boice from first base to extend the lead to 5-0 after four innings.

Billingsley had five hits in the game, and four of them came in the big fourth inning.

Starting pitcher Mason Truesdale settled in after the Bears secured the 5-0 lead and gave up one walk, one hit and one hit by pitch the rest of the way to stifle the University Charter offense, and earn the 5-0 game one win. Truesdale’s final stat line read seven innings with four hits, three walks and struck out six hitters.

In game two, the Bears’ bats were alive and well. University Charter did take a 1-0 lead early with a run in the first inning, but recorded only four hits the rest of the game.

The score remained 1-0 until the top of the fourth inning when Hunter Wyatt singled after a hit by pitch, and Turner Motley doubled to left field to tie the game. Jason Smith followed behind Motley with an RBI single to score him from second base and give the Bears the 2-1. Marshall Headley knocked a single through the infield to make it 3-1 after the four innings.

Smith was 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Motley was 2-for-4.

In the sixth inning, still up 3-1, Billingsley put together a two-out rally that produced five runs. Back to back RBI singles from Shane Shirah and Boice pushed the lead to 5-1. Two consecutive hit by pitches from University Charter pitching plated the sixth run. Wyatt put the finishing touches on the rally, and the series, with a two-RBI double to make it 8-1 where the final score would fall.

Shirah was 2-for-5, and Wyatt was 2-for-4 with the two RBIs.

Boice got the start in game two for the Bears, and after giving up the run in the first inning, put together a masterclass on the mound. Boice threw six innings, 105 pitches, and gave up six hits and struck out 13 hitters.

Jones entered the game in the seventh inning and closed the game for the Bears, throwing 12 of his 18 pitches for a strike and striking out the side.

Billingsley advances to play Florala High School on April 28 with the series beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Billingsley High School. Game two will follow at around 7 p.m., and if a third game is needed, it will be on April 29 at noon.