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THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2007
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Hatton can't
solve Leroy

Hornets fall short in
finals to finish second

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

MONTGOMERY — The Hatton High baseball team's feelings were written all over the face of senior Nathan Berryman at the end of a 3-1 loss to Leroy that completed a sweep in the Class 2A baseball finals Wednesday.

Paired with a 8-0 loss Tuesday, the Hornets were swept in the best-of-three championship series at Montgomery's Paterson Field, and even though Berryman hovered over home plate with his head down for several minutes after the final out, he was also the first to touch the runner-up trophy and lead
the line as Hatton's players shook hands with newly crowned state champion Leroy players.

"We played really well today," center fielder Berryman said, his face streaked with eye black.

"I mean, 3-1, that's really good baseball. It's disappointing to be on the losing end, but we gave it all we had."

Other than the Bears' 10-8 win in the second game of a semifinal sweep of Houston Academy of Dothan, no team but Hatton played Leroy closer than five runs in the postseason.

"If someone would have told me (Leroy) would score 11 runs in two games, I'd have figured we would have swept," Hatton coach Brent Gillespie said about the high-scoring Bears.

Leroy coach Danny Powell said the matchup was more even than the combined 11-1 total from the two games reflected.

He said his team was on edge in Wednesday's game. "We want to tip our hats to Hatton," Powell said. "Today went right down to the last pitch."

Powell became the first head coach since Cottonwood's Jim McCain in 1986-87 to win football and baseball state championships in the same school
year.

In what was thought to be a rebuilding year for Leroy's baseball team, the Bears finished 37-7, one win away from tying the school-record 38 wins set last season.

"We'll take 37 wins and a state championship over 38 wins and no state championship any day," Powell said after the first win of the championship series Tuesday.

Leroy lost five starters and its four top pitchers off last year's squad to graduation and began the season 1-4.

Senior Taylor White, who was named most valuable player of the championship series, pitching the win in the first game and played center field Wednesday.

White batted .500 in the series, including three hits and two RBIs.

Leroy senior Brandon Jones pitched six innings for the Bears on Wednesday, striking out five and allowing five hits.

Clint Moseley, who was slated to start the if-necessary third game, closed out the win, striking out one in the seventh.

Senior Matthew Dudley got the start on the mound for Hatton, striking out seven and allowing five hits.

The Hornets put seniors Will Nichols and Cody Cantrell on the mound Tuesday.

"I thought Matthew did a great job on the mound today," Gillespie said. "We pitched well in both games. They scored in just three innings in two days."

The Bears posted their three runs Wednesday in the top of the second.

Leroy's Aerick Davis scored on a fielding error before Mathew Watkins drove in Stephen Scoggins and Moseley for a 3-0 lead.

Anthony Parker's RBI single to left scored Tevin Terrell from second base in the bottom of the second for Hatton's lone run.

Parker, Terrell, and Berryman each had a single, while Dudley had two singles.

Hatton left a total of six runners on base.

"We had chances to win, and we really could have won it," Dudley said.

Gillespie said he reminded his players throughout the season that they were a special group that was "writing its chapter in Hatton baseball's history."

In his 12 years at Hatton, Gillespie said this year's 19-player team, including seniors Nichols, Dudley, Berryman, Cantrell and Chris Hutto, made an impression on him and impacted the program in a memorable way.

Hatton finished 32-21.

"In my mind, this may be the most athletic team I've ever coached at Hatton," Gillespie said. "They'll be an important part of the history of this program and what's been built upon here."

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