By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Chief Editor
HOOVER- In an unavoidable situation against the state’s No. 1 team, the Spain Park Jaguars did not panic on their ground on Thursday April 21.
Facing the top-ranked Hewitt-Trussville Huskies, Spain Park needed a win and a Vestavia Hills loss to earn a qualifying game with the Rebels for a berth in the 2022 Class 7A playoffs.
The moment to hold your breath came when the Jaguars were in the sixth inning.
By then, the Jags had just given up a 4-2 lead and were going deep in the sixth to tie 4-4, while Vestavia Hills put the first runner on board in the final inning of their game and finally got the game. -tieing run on second with one out.
The series of events that followed, however, became significant.
Not only did Vestavia Hills’ next two batters go down to lose to Gadsden City 1-0, but Spain Park was able to capitalize on a big two-out hit from Ryan Cole.
After Josh Harrington and Cole Edwards reached base safely with a single and a hit per pitch, respectively, a second out was recorded on a fly out.
Cole, however, walked over to the plate and forced his way into a full count.
Looking for his first hit of the night, the potent offensive threat drove the next pitch he saw to center field, causing trouble in the outfield and allowing Harrington and Edwards to score for what became the winning races.
Trailing 6-4, Hewitt-Trussville looked to spark a comeback in the top of the seventh by putting two runners on board with two outs, but John Robert Thompson managed to get ground to fall back on himself for the game’s finale. . .
The thrilling victory earned Spain Park the chance to take on Vestavia Hills on Saturday afternoon at 4pm to determine which of the two will advance to the playoffs this season.
The Jags took an early lead with two runs in the first and one in the second before the Huskies got on the board in the third with two runs of their own.
Spain Park then extended the lead one more point in the fourth before Hewitt scored the two points to level the game, leading to the thrilling end.
Spain Park trailed Cole’s three RBIs, while Harrington led the team with two hits. He also added an RBI, while Jacob Tobias posted a hit and an RBI.
In addition to those three, Evan Smallwood, Clay Spencer, Thompson and Wilkins Hunter all had hits in the win.
Lucas Thornton started on the mound and went six innings, allowing five hits and four runs with five strikeouts.