Bates pitches team to win in Showcase
By Dennis Victory
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TROY — Hartselle pitcher J.C. Bates couldn't muster the velocity he's accustomed to during first-day action at the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Underclassmen All-Star Showcase at Troy University's Riddle-Pace Field.
What Bates managed was good enough as Team 7 posted a 1-0 victory over Team 2 in Friday's second game of the day.
"My curveball was really working," said Bates, who started on the mound for Team 7 and threw two hitless innings. "I was only throwing 85 to 86 mph. I wasn't feeling it."
Each of the eight teams — four North and four South — comprises 20 players, who arrived Thursday for a banquet.
On-field activities began Friday with 12 games scheduled throughout the three days. Players also participate in seminars, enrichment sessions and workouts for scouts and college coaches.
Bates and three other pitchers combined to throw a one-hitter, striking out 11 and walking two.
Bates, Madison Academy's Kelby Deerman, Southside-Gadsden's Luke Arnett and Etowah's Blake Bailey faced 24 hitters in the seven-inning contest.
A rising senior, Bates faced the minimum in his two innings, striking out three, surrendering a pair of fly balls and a ground-out.
Team 7, which managed five hits, scored the only run of the game in the second when Etowah's DeWayne Boyd walked and moved to third on a passed ball and wild pitch.
He scored on a ground-out from Clay-Chalkville's Tyler Colvert.
Hartselle teammate Luke Bole picked up one of the five hits with a line drive to the right side in the sixth inning.
"It was right down the middle," said Bole, a rising junior who couldn't explain the lack of hitting. "We've got some good hitters, but nobody was hitting today."
Team 8, comprising mostly Birmingham-area players, won the first game of the day with a 6-1 victory over Team 1.
The final game of the day, scheduled between Team 3 and Team 6, was rained out and will be played as the final game Saturday. Area players on Team 6 are Decatur's John Frost and Graham Spencer, Austin's Russ Sandlin, Lawrence County's Wes Holley and Ethan Walley, Athens' Colin McMurry and West Limestone's Ryan Wheeler.
Action resumes Saturday, with six games scheduled to begin at 9:50 a.m. and each game following about 21/2 hours later. Sunday's four games start at 9 a.m., with the final game scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Team 5, which features Athens Bible's Joseph Baker and Speake's Zach Vick, plays the first two games Saturday.
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