Top-ranked Charles Henderson claims area title with 13-3 rout of Ashford at Frazier Field

Published 11:58 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Charles Henderson baseball team celebrate its area title and twenty-seventh win of the season. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

The Charles Henderson baseball team celebrate its area title and twenty-seventh win of the season. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Before the season ever started, Charles Henderson head coach Derek Irons informed his team that they had five different opportunities to be champions.

With a 13-3 win over Ashford, the Trojans claimed the third of their sought after titles by clinching the area championship.

Charles Henderson (27-2) also won the Terry Sikes Memorial Tournament and FCA Baseball Classic earlier this season. While Charles Henderson didn’t pick up the title at the Gulf Coast Classic in Gulf Shores, the Trojans did leave the beach with a 3-1 record in pool play.

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Four down, one to go. Every person, Irons included, knows what the final championship is.

“We have had three opportunities to compete for a championship and we have won three of them,” Irons said. “We expect to have success but that doesn’t mean you don’t celebrate when you do. The playoffs are next and tomorrow is another day, and we have to get better again.”

In the area clinching game, Ashford struck first by plating a run in the top of the second inning on a single by James Lisenby.

In the bottom part of the second, the Trojan bats came alive. Charles Henderson sent 12 men to the plate and scored eight runs in the stanza.

Joey Denison reached on a single to right field to open the inning and later scored on a ground-rule double to center off the bat of Austin Ingram.

Ingram’s hit was high and hard enough that the ball went through the tarp portion of the center field batters eye.

Later in the inning, sophomore Chase Smartt cleared the bases with a three RBI double to left right field.

“We hit the all hard all over the field tonight,” said Irons. “Joey, Chase and Austin have some good power, but we have good bats up and down the lineup. All of us have the mind set that we have to get 1 percent better each and every day, in the field and a the plate.”

The Trojans tacked on two insurance runs in the third, and found an opportunity to put the game away early to the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth.

Walks by Tripp Blackmon and Smartt, and a single by Denison put the winning runs on base, and Ingram cleared the bases with a scorching double to left center to seal the 13-3 win.

Ingram led the Trojans at the plate, going 2-4, with two doubles and four RBIs. Denison went 3-3 and scored two runs.

Smartt finished the day 1-3, three RBIs and scored two runs.

Houston Mabray picked up the win for Charles Henderson.

Mabray went three-and-one-third innings, giving up three hits and striking out five Yellow Jacket batters.

The win guarantees Charles Henderson a home series in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs, which begin next week.

Irons said that the team has to keep their focus through the final weeks of the season in order to make a run in the playoffs.

“We are swinging the bats really well right now,” Irons said. “We have to stay focused on us. We have to work on a few things, here or there. Hopefully we really hit our stride starting Friday.”

The Trojans return to the diamond on Wednesday at Ashford for the second leg of the area series.

First pitch is set for 2 p.m.