Nov. 6, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The White team used some timely hitting and nifty defense to post a 5-2 win over the Gray Team Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, as the two teams split a pair of games at the 2009 Alabama Baseball World Series.
“The pitching was good and we expected that tonight,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Right now, at this point, were guys that should be weekend-type guys. I thought the pitching shined over the hitting tonight a little bit tonight, which was good to see, because the offense has been so good all fall. Defensively, I thought we made some really nice plays at some key times. I thought the atmosphere was great, a game night atmosphere for our players and there was a lot of energy in the stadium. I was a good night.”
The White team scored single runs in the second, third, sixth, eighth and ninth innings en route to the win. Junior first baseman Brett Whitaker, a transfer from Shelton State, and junior catcher Chris Smelley combined for four of the team’s 10 hits in the win. Smelley hit a game-tying home run in the second inning and Whitaker plated an insurance run with an eighth-inning double that gave the White squad its two-run lead.
The Gray team grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas reached on a leadoff single and scored on senor first baseman Clay Jones’ one-out single to right field.
The White tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning on Smelley’s two-out home run to left field. Smelley went 4-for-8 in the World Series with two home runs and five RBI for the White team. He had four game-tying RBI in the two games.
“Smelley had a good World Series,” Gaspard added. “The last two games he swung the bat really well. Brett Whitaker is another guy that had a good series and good fall. It was good to see Chris get going and he’s been just steady improvement the entire fall. He is certainly taking the strides in the right direction.”
The White team added another run in the bottom of the third inning to take its first lead at 2-1. Junior right fielder David Kindred led off the inning with a double down the right field line and moved to third on junior shortstop Josh Sanders’ sacrifice bunt. Kindred then scored on senior center fielder Cal Tinsley’s ground out that put the White team in front.
The Gray team loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning, but failed to score as freshman left-hander Adam Windsor induced an inning-ending ground ball off the bat of freshman catcher Brett Booth to end the threat.
The White team came right back with a manufactured run in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend its lead to 3-1. Tinsley led off the inning with a double to left field, moved to third on sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton’s sacrifice bunt and scored on junior second baseman Ross Wilson’s sacrifice fly to the warning track in right field.
The Gray team got the run back in the top of the seventh inning on freshman left fielder Andrew Miller’s RBI single to right field that scored junior shortstop Josh Rutledge, who drew a leadoff walk.
The White team loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and were poised to add to its lead, before sophomore right-hander Tyler White wriggled out of trouble to keep it a one-run game. Whitaker opened the inning with line-drive single to center field and later moved to third on senior catcher Cody Trotter’s one-out double to left field. Kindred was hit by pitch to load the bases with one out.
Tyler White pitched out of trouble when he stuck out Sanders for the second out and then got a highlight-reel catch by right fielder Matt Taylor, robbing Tinsley of an extra base hit to end the inning and keep the Gray team in the game.
The White team added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Senior third baseman Jake Smith drew a two-out walk and Whitaker followed with a double to left-center field to make it a two-run game.
Alabama used a total of 10 pitchers in the scrimmage, with no pitcher throwing more than two innings. Junior right hander Jason Townsend, retired all six batters he faced with two strikeouts, picked up the win. Junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson suffered the loss, despite two solid innings on the mound. Smith pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.