Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Decatur High pitcher Blaine Ingram was the starting pitcher for Morgan County in the Lions Club East-West All-Star series game at Decatur High.
All-star teams ring up 19 runs
By Brooke Milam
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After players from Morgan County defeated Limestone County 11-8 in the first round of the Lions Club East-West All-Star series game at Decatur High, players waited eagerly but patiently as area coaches met to select players to advance.
With the rigors of the baseball season behind them, many of the area's top junior and senior players gathered for the event, which gives them an opportunity to face players from all classifications that have been nominated by their coaches as athletes for their respective programs.
"There's really no pressure — you just come out and play," Austin senior Laken Laughmiller said.
Coaches selected 20 players to advance to the sub-regional round at Hanceville High on May 19 at 10 a.m.
The sub-regional round will feature the combined Decatur/Limestone team against players from the Cullman/Blount first-round game.
But even though the event is more laid-back than players are accustomed to finding in the regular and post-seasons, the All-Star series still offers some unique pressures of its own — the games are designed to put players in front of college and professional scouts in the later rounds
"The fact of the matter that the coaches thought I was good enough to play was pressure," Decatur junior Blaine Ingram said.
Ingram got the start on the mound for Morgan County, striking out three and allowing one hit in two innings.
After pitching the maximum-allowed two innings, Ingram was relieved by Hartselle junior J.C. Bates, who also said he felt some tension on the mound, wanting to prove himself.
"I just threw as hard as I could and struck as many people out as I could," Bates said.
Bates pitched the third and fourth innings, striking out three and allowing no hits. Bates also played third base in the contest.
With Ingram and Bates on the mound, Morgan County built a 4-0 lead and never trailed after that.
A double by Danville junior Bryan Rogers scored Laughmiller and Austin senior Jake McCay for Morgan County's first runs in the third inning.
Danville junior Roger Smith then drove in Hawks teammate Rogers for a 3-0 Morgan County lead, and Decatur Heritage senior Drew Atchley's RBI single scored Hartselle junior Ethan Widener for a 4-0 advantage in the fourth.
Decatur Heritage junior Bo Godwin hit a single in the fifth that plated Falkville senior Kevin Boroughs, making the score 5-0.
Tanner senior Clay McMeans put Limestone on the scoreboard, taking home plate on a passed ball in the fifth. East Limestone senior Brett Dollar added another run, when he was batted in by Wheeler. Wheeler and Jeremy Craig each scored in the inning, pulling Limestone within one of the lead at 5-4.
Rogers got his third RBI, driving in McCay in the sixth inning, and Brewer senior Eric Parker tacked on another run, keeping Morgan County ahead 7-4.
Atchley knocked in Decatur junior Tyler Spivey for an 8-4 Morgan County advantage in the seventh.
In the eighth, Boroughs scored, and Laughmiller drove in Danville junior Jake Mahathy and Priceville senior Rand Hutchison with a double, making the score 11-4.
McMeans, Dollar and Wheeler scored on West Limestone junior Colton Hill's double in the ninth inning before Tanner senior George Adams drove in Clements senior Ryan Griffin for the game's final run.
Morgan County got multiple hits from several players.
Rogers went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, while Laughmiller was 2-for-3 with two doubles.
Atchley, Boroughs and Godwin each went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
McMeans, Dollar and Wheeler scored two runs apiece for Limestone.
These players will advance to the sub-regional round of the Lions Club East-West All-Star series May 19 at Hanceville High:
Athens: Colin McMurry.
Ardmore: Eric Atchley.
Austin: Jake McCay and Laken Laughmiller.
Clements: Ryan Griffin and Matthew Moore.
Danville: Bryan Rogers and Kevin Boroughs.
Decatur: Blaine Ingram and Tyler Spivey.
Decatur Heritage: Drew Atchley and Bo Godwin.
Hartselle: J.C. Bates and Ethan Widener.
Priceville: Matt Croft.
Tanner: George Adams and Cliff Bunch.
West Limestone: Ryan Wheeler, Colton Hill and Justin
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