Defending champs end Goshen playoff run

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2003

The defending state champions came to Goshen Saturday and did not face much resistance.

The Goshen baseball team committed 10 errors and struck out 16 times and lost in the second round of the state playoffs to Gordo 13-2.

"I'll be honest, they are a much better team than we are," Goshen coach Mickey Jacobs said. "They didn't win the state championship by accident."

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Gordo pitchers struck out the side in four separate innings; three of those times they retired the side in order. One inning the Eagles were retired in order on called third strikes.

Gordo took control in the third inning. The Green Wave stretched the lead from 1-0 to 4-0 due in large part to a two-run home run by Zach Smith.

Goshen failed to score in the bottom of the inning, and the Eagles watched their chances to make it to the third round of the playoffs fade into the distance with a particularly awful top half of the fourth.

Gordo tried to ground out to the left side of the infield several times, but Goshen would not cooperate. Gordo scored five runs to take a 9-0 lead. Two runs came in on Dusty Branyon's home run to left field.

The Eagles tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs. They also managed to get both their hits in the inning to cut the deficit to 9-2.

Wesley Wright came in to pitch in the fifth inning and kept the Green Wave off the board, but Goshen could not cut into the deficit any further. Gordo added one run in the sixth and three more in the seventh to push the lead to its final margin.

Goshen's season is over; Gordo will face Houston County Friday at home in the third round of the playoffs.

Charles Henderson loses to state's top baseball team

MOBILE – St. Paul's no. 9 hitter, Trey Pollard, smashed a triple and scored on a throwing error, and Rob Hendrich came in on a sacrifice fly by Bill Kleinschrodt in what turned out to be the winning runs as the Saints won their second-round 5A playoff game.

The Saints (37-3), who are ranked No. 1 in 5A, move on to the quarterfinals and will host Fairhope (a 3-2 winner over Benjamin Russell) in a best two-out-of-three series starting Friday afternoon. St. Paul's coach Andy Robbins said Pollard's hit, which broke a 1-1 deadlock between the two teams in the third inning, was huge.

"We talk about that all the time, your No. 1 through No. 9 hitters all have to hit," said Robbins. "That was clutch. Trey just hit the ball deep, hustled and it paid off."

Saints ace Chase Christanson (7-2) earned the win as he went the distance in allowing six hits, striking out eight and walking just three. Christianson was a little shaky early but settled down in the later innings to retire seven straight batters to end the game.

Robbins said Christianson did his job. "In these one-game single-elimination sets, sometimes the adrenaline gets going and you get too aggressive," he said. "He was able to get his curveball over for strikes, though, and he hit his spots. He pitched a heck of a game."

Robbins said his team performed flawlessly. "That's what I told them at the beginning of the year," he said. "In games like this, every pitch matters and every ground ball matters. We did what we had to do today. Our guys have been doing it all year, putting the ball in play, playing defense and running the bases."

St. Paul's went up early 1-0 with a run in the second inning. Luke Peavy was hit by a pitch and subbed for courtesy runner Stuart Parnell, who scored later on Christianson's infield single.

The Trojans tied it 1-1 in the third inning as Clint Pugh opened with a single and scored on a double-play ball by Matt Johnson.

The Saints put the ballgame away in the bottom half of the inning, however as Pollard and Hendrich both scored.

The Mobile Register contributed to this report.