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Reds thwart rally, win

Post 34 Tuscaloosa Red managed to thwart a comeback attempt by Andalusia Post 80 Friday at the Alabama American Legion Junior State Tournament, scoring the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Cody Lawrence.

“Cody’s been big for us all year long,” said Tuscaloosa head coach Brett Whitaker. “It was a good clutch hit for him.”

Lawrence came up with two outs and runners on first and second, but was able to drive a single up the middle to score Tanner Smithson.

Lawrence’s game winner came after a furious Andalusia rally tied the game at four in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Post 80 trailed 4-1 heading into the sixth, but narrowed the gap to 4-2 when Chaseton Hall drove in Joshua Dewrell with an RBI single to center field.

Following a strikeout by Gunter Davis, Grady Ingram hit a popup to Tuscaloosa second baseman Daniel Gamble that should have ended the inning.

However, Gamble dropped the ball and then threw it past the shortstop and into the outfield, allowing both Hall and Ingram to score and tie the game at four.

Despite the momentary loss of focus, Whitaker said his team remained confident.

“We still had trust that we could come back and win,” Whitaker said. “We’ve had plenty of late-inning wins this year, so we knew we could do it.”

Tuscaloosa started the game by building a 4-0 lead in the top of the first.

The first four Tuscaloosa batters all had base hits and came around to score against Dewrell, who started the game for Andalusia, but was lifted after facing the first four batters.

Smithson, who started for Tuscaloosa Red, had much more success.

Smithson pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and two earned runs while striking out three.

Lawrence led Tuscaloosa at the plate, going 1-4 with two RBIs. Both Smithson and Taylor Baggett added two hits each for Tuscaloosa.

Hall led Andalusia’s offensive attack with two hits in three at-bats and an RBI.

Following the close victory, Tuscaloosa Red will face North Limestone Saturday at 1 p.m.

The winner of that game will be 2-0 in Pool A and have the inside track to reaching Monday’s championship game.

Andalusia will look to regroup when it faces Florence Post 11 at 7 p.m. Saturday in what will be a virtual elimination game.