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Trojans spear Rebels at home

Coming into Friday’s second round showdown between Charles Henderson and Rehobeth, it was the Trojans who carried the No. 1 ranking, but the Rebels who had taken two out of three games in the regular season.

Now, however, it is Charles Henderson who will continue their march towards a state championship.

The Trojans swept the Rebels in a doubleheader Friday night at Frazier Field, winning the first game 9-6 and the second game 8-4.

“Your goal in the playoffs is just to keep playing,” said CHHS head coach Derek Irons. “You just want one more week, and we have that. We got some timely hitting, and we had some guys step up in key situations.”

Rehobeth looked great early on, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the first game and a 5-2 lead in the second on a three-run home run by Payne Palmer.

Charles Henderson battled back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring two runs on an RBI groundout by Michael Fox and an RBI single from K.D. Edenfield to cut the lead to 5-4.

CHHS then tied the game in the fifth with a leadoff home run from Nathan Barron before going on to score four more runs in the inning for a 9-5 lead that it would not relinquish.

“We started off very poorly, I thought,” Irons said. “But, one of the things we’ve talked to our guys all year long about is handling adversity. It’s easy to be a good team when everything’s going your way, but everything wasn’t going our way for a while. I’m proud of the competitive character they showed, and the way they worked their way back into it.”

Rehobeth had a chance to narrow the gap when it loaded the bases in the top of the sixth.

Caleb Morris singled to drive In Hunter Wise to make it 9-6, but Steve Duebelt was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Mitch McLeod pitched a complete game in game one, giving up seven hits, four earned runs and eight bases on balls, while striking out five. Chase Connell and K.D. Edenfield led the offensive attack for CHHS.

Connell was 2-3 with a double and an RBI, while Edenfield was 3-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

“What drives that Charles Henderson team is Mitch McLeod,” said Rehobeth head coach Larry Tubbs. “But, Chase Connell was big today, too. It seemed like we couldn’t get him out. But, they have good athletes and they know how to play the game. Our program is growing right now, and we’re trying to get back to that elite level that Charles Henderson is at right now.”

Palmer led the Rebels in the first game, going 3-3 with a home run and three RBIs.

In the second game, CHHS played the role of the visiting team, and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but left the bases loaded.

Rehobeth took the lead for a brief span when it scored a run in the second and three runs in the third to go up 4-3.

The Trojans responded, however, scoring 3 runs in the top of the fourth to take a 6-4 lead that they would not relinquish.

CHHS led 8-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh, and watched as Rehobeth managed to load the bases with two outs, putting the tying run at the plate in the form of Duebelt.

The Trojans’ Nathan Barron struck Duebelt out swinging, however, sending the Trojans into the state quarterfinals.

Quay Lawson was the offensive leader in game two, going 3-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. Barron went 305 with a triple and an RBI, while McLeod was 2-3 with a double and an RBI.

The Trojans pounded out 16 hits in game two, but left 14 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded on three separate occasions.

“We have got to work on narrowing our focus and narrowing our concentration when we have runners on base,” Irons said. “Leaving that many guys on base will get you beat a lot of nights, so there are a lot of positives tonight, but there are definitely some areas to clean up between now and next week.”

For the Trojans, they now turn their attention to the winner of the series between Beauregard and Tallassee, which was still ongoing as of late Friday night.