SPANISH FORT — After Newton Gardner’s first-inning, two-run home run in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series, the Spanish Fort Toros never trailed the McAdory Yellow Jackets again and …
SPANISH FORT — After Newton Gardner’s first-inning, two-run home run in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series, the Spanish Fort Toros never trailed the McAdory Yellow Jackets again and sealed things with a 7-5 Game 3 win Saturday to advance to the second round.
Spanish Fort will face the Northridge Jaguars, Area 6 champions who swept Pike Road 5-4 and 11-6 Thursday, in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state tournament. The Toros have won their fifth first-round playoff series since joining Class 6A in 2015 coming off their 2014 state title.
McAdory seized the lead over Spanish Fort with a three-run seventh inning in Game 1 to earn a 3-2 win and put the host Toros on the verge of elimination. Gardner’s home run was supplemented by a three-run fourth inning in Game 2 en route to a 7-1 victory that evened the series.
Hosts clinch series with another early lead
Again in Game 3, Spanish Fort scored in the first inning with a three-run frame as the home team. Although the Yellow Jackets tied the game at 3-3 and 4-4, each lasted only that half-inning before the Toros took back their lead in the bottom half.
Spanish Fort’s 7-4 lead helped the hosts survive two errors and a run scored in the top of the seventh inning. Mytch Deacy responded to the unearned run by striking out the final McAdory batter on only three pitches to secure the win with six strikeouts in four innings of relief.
McAdory holds lead for four of 61 outs
Of the 61 outs that were played in the first-round series between Spanish Fort and McAdory, the Yellow Jackets held a lead for only four of those outs after their go-ahead, bases-clearing double came with two down in the top of the seventh in Game 1.
Gardner launched a home run for the Toros to open the scoring in the second game and never looked back.
.@NewtonGardner3 wastes no time putting @SpanishFortBsbl on top 2-0 in the first over McAdory. DJ Eurgil started things with a hit then Gardner found his pitch and deposited it over the left field wall. Check our Instagram story for the tunnel view #ALHSBaseball pic.twitter.com/RYMc1PYF7x— Gulf Coast Media Sports (@GCMSportsAL) April 22, 2023
Other first-round series
Spanish Fort became the fourth team from Baldwin County’s nine postseason qualifiers to advance to the second round of the state playoffs.
Also on the AHSAA circuit, the Bayshore Christian Eagles opened their title defense with a first-round sweep of the Ranburne Bulldogs (10-0 and 14-0) in the Class 2A bracket and the Bayside Academy Admirals swept their first Class 4A first-round series Thursday at home over Handley (15-9 and 3-0). Bayshore Christian drew Pike Lib and Bayside Academy was set to face Bibb County.
On the Alabama Independent School Association circuit, the Snook Christian Eagles secured a home sweep of Meadowview to advance to the second round of the Class A state tournament.
Snook won Game 1 5-2 behind a complete-game, 14-strikeout effort from Jayson Kidwell then finished things with a 12-0 win in Game 2 with two RBIs each from Philip Butts, Hayden Joiner and Robert Dunn. The Eagles were set to meet Coosa Valley in the second round with a trip to the state semifinals on the line.
Elberta, Gulf Shores and Baldwin County were all on the other side of the sweeping broom Friday and found the end of the road in the AHSAA postseason.
On the Class 5A stage, the Warriors fell to Sylacauga (1-0 and 4-2) and the Dolphins were swept by Shelby County (7-4 and 9-4). In the Class 6A bracket, the Tigers couldn’t overcome Briarwood Christian (13-3 and 3-1).
In action that closed the regular season in Class 7A this week, the Fairhope Pirates topped the Daphne Trojans for the Area 2 title with wins of 12-4 and 8-1. Fairhope was set to draw Area 4 runner-up Russell County and Daphne was set to match up with the Area 4 winner Pike Road in the first round of the 7A circuit.