FSCC bounced to loser bracket; fall short

By Steve Dukes
Posted 5/22/07

Another impressive run through the losers bracket of the Alabama Community College Conference/Region 22 Baseball Tournament ended a game short of the finals for Faulkner State last week after the Sun Chiefs won three straight games in the losers …

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FSCC bounced to loser bracket; fall short


Another impressive run through the losers bracket of the Alabama Community College Conference/Region 22 Baseball Tournament ended a game short of the finals for Faulkner State last week after the Sun Chiefs won three straight games in the losers bracket before being eliminated in the semifinals in Dothan.

Shelton State, the No. 1 seed from the North Division, was the culprit in both FSCC losses. The Tuscaloosa team thrashed the Sun Chiefs 13-3 in seven innings in first-round play May 12 and handed them a 6-5 defeat in the semifinals. In losers bracket play, Faulkner whipped South Division rivals Jefferson Davis of Brewton 12-1 on Sunday and L.B. Wallace of Andalusia 11-4 on Tuesday, with a 3-2 win over Northwest Shoals in between on Monday.

“I’m extremely proud of our guys for the way they battled back in the tournament, and late in the season to get there,” veteran FSCC coach Wayne Larker said. “We probably had less pitching depth than any team in the tournament, but we had some guys come through for us that hadn’t really pitched that many innings during the regular season, especially early in the season.

“I was hoping we could make another run like we did a couple of times a few years ago when we had to win play-in games just to get in the tournament, and then won the whole thing each time, but it just wasn’t meant to be. These guys have nothing to hang heir heads about, though and they have definitely earned my respect,” Larker said. “The Bay Minette folks can be proud of Michael Bain. He pitched one of our complete-game wins, and Vern Darby, who pitched only in relief this year, had another as did Mitch Whatley, who walked on last year and led us in wins this year.”

The 3-2 showing in the state/region tournament followed a 12-5 regular-season finish and gave the Sun Chiefs a final 32-27 record. The last losers bracket win over LBW also was also Larker’ss 698th as FSCC’s head coach in his 24th season. The two losses put him at an even 500.

It was FSCC’s first appearance in the state/region tournament since winning it for the second straight season in 2004., and the 32 wins marked the 14th time Faulkner has reached the 30-win plateau since starting its baseball program in 1969. The third-place finish was the Sun Chiefs’ third. They also won state/region titles in 1970, ‘71, ‘73, ‘90 and ‘96 and finished second six times.



Shelton 6, FSCC 5

Shelton battled back from4-0 and 5-3 deficits, then withstood an FSCC rally in the bottom of the ninth to advance to the finals.

Two-run rallies in the first and second innings gave Faulkner its 4-0 lead. Shelton closed the gap with a run in the third and two in the fourth, the Sun Chiefs scored once in the fifth, then Shelton pulled ahead with three hits, a walk and an error in the seventh.

Joel Beason and Nelson Curry led off the bottom the the ninth with singles, Curry’s an infield hit. Two strikeouts followed, with Larker calling for what resulted in a succesful double steal moments before the second out occurred. The rally came up short and Faulkner’s season ended when Trey Atkins lined out to the SSCC second baseman.

Beason and Curry had four hits each in their final FSCC game. Brandon Turner and Tim Daw added two hits apiece. The Sun Chiefs out hit Shelton 16-9. Billy Jones, the second of three Faulkner pitchers, took the loss. He allowed three runs and three hits in three innings.



FSCC 11, L.B. Wallace 4

A six-run sixth inning and a three-run eighth lifted the Sun Chiefs out of a 3-2 hole and sophomore left-hander Whatley pitched FSCC’s third straight complete game to secure the win. Whatley survived 11 Saints hits to improve to 9-4. He struck out seven and walked one.

Curry and Turner had three hits each, Chad Watson legged out two triples and Beason drove in two runs to lead the Faulkner offense. Stephen Stork and Wes Windham had two hits each and Curry and Wes Windham two RBI apiece.


FSCC 3, Northwest Shoals 2

Vern Darby, in his first start of the season after coming out of the bullpen more than a dozen times, pitched a five-hitter to help keep the Sun Chiefs’ hopes alive and even his record at 3-3. Darby struck out three batters and walked one.

Turner had two hits while Beason and Watson doubled.


FSCC 12, Jefferson State 1

Bain pitched a seven-hitter and Heisler had four hits and four RBI in FSCC’s first losers bracket game. Beason added three hits and Curry and Stork had two. Faulkner accumulated 14 hits.

Curry and Turner had two RBI each.



Shelton 13, FSCC 3 in 7

Shelton banged out 12 hits and used some of Faulkner’s four errors to build a 12-0 lead after scoring nine runs in the third inning. Heisler and Chad Watson had two hits each for the Sun Chiefs.