W. Morgan baseball still
Rebels dispatch defending champs to set up semifinal meeting with Hatton
By Brooke Milam
TRINITY — Technically, the last three outs of West Morgan’s state baseball quarterfinal series with Ranburne took just eight minutes.
But to Tyler Jones and the Rebels, the final moments of the best-of-three series with the Bulldogs were the longest half-inning they’d ever played.
“I was really nervous because I’d never been in that position before,” Jones said after a 6-5 win in the deciding third game Saturday afternoon.
“But we made it through.”
Jones was on the mound as West Morgan closed out the home victory and knocked off defending Class 2A champion Ranburne, winning two straight games over the Bulldogs after dropping the opening contest of the series.
“I knew last night after we beat them for the split that our kids were pumped up and that helped us today to get out of some jams without falling apart,” West Morgan coach Todd Stephens said.
“In our (2A, Area 15) games this year, we decided to play best-of-three series and doing that in the regular season really helped prepare us for a game three situation.”
West Morgan (30-9) will play a best-of-three semifinal series Friday at Hatton (30-19), which advanced with a 12-1 and 11-7 sweep of Mars Hill.
Ranburne finished its season at 24-9.
“I couldn’t care less that (Ranburne) was defending state champions, ranked No. 1 — I knew we could come out and win,” West Morgan’s Michael Clem said.
With the score tied 3-3, Clem led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run that put the Rebels up 4-3.
West Morgan’s Daniel Korpi walked with two outs, plating Josh McAbee for a 5-3 lead.
“I felt like we got it going in that inning,” Clem said. “The home run gave us the lead, and we just kept going.”
Ranburne’s Kip Cash’s RBI single drove in Cody Skinner in the fifth, cutting West Morgan’s lead to 5-4.
West Morgan answered when Clem slid into home plate on a double by Tyler Rogers, putting the Rebels ahead 6-4.
A throwing error by the Rebels scored Ranburne’s Daniel Chambers, pulling the Bulldogs within 6-5 with two outs in the sixth, but Ranburne left the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the inning.
Jones finished with three strikeouts, pitching a complete game for the Rebels. Ranburne starter Jeremy Shepherd struck out one in 4 1/3 innings.
McAbee was 3-for-3 for the Rebels at the plate, including a double and an RBI.
Anthony Atemon had two singles and an RBI, and Korpi doubled. Matthew Poole went 2-for-3 with a double and a single.
State quarterfinal baseball results
All series were best-of-three with two games Friday and a single game Saturday, if necessary.
Hackleburg 10-12, Decatur Heritage 0-2 (Hackleburg sweeps)
Athens Bible 6-0-9, Covenant Christian 2-4-7 (ABS wins 2-1)
West Morgan 1-5-6, Ranburne 7-4-5 (West Morgan wins 2-1)
Hatton 12-11, Mars Hill 1-7 (Hatton sweeps)
Hokes Bluff 12-11, Danville 2-1 (Hokes Bluff sweeps)
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