Charles Henderson baseball rallies to defeat Hazel Green in first game in Gulf Shores

Published 8:46 pm Monday, March 23, 2015

GULF SHORES – In a game that turned on a two-out walk in the seventh inning, the Charles Henderson High School Trojans edged Hazel Green 4-3 in the opening day of the Gulf Shores Baseball Classic on Monday.

“This is what we came down here for,” said head coach Derek Irons.  “We came down here to face pitchers like that and teams like this. It wasn’t easy, but our guys competed from the first pitch to the last. And we had three great at bats in the last inning to get the winning run.”

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Jason Fleming drew what would prove to be a critical walk for the Trojans.

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“That was big,” said Head Coach Derek Irons. “Jason drew the walk and then we got two key hits back-to-back to win the game.”

Bryson Gandy followed Fleming’s walk with a base hit to left field, but an outfielder error advanced runner Wright Graning to third and Gandy to second.

“Then Nick (Lewis) got up there and hit the first pitch to give us the win.”

The seventh-inning rally was only the second in which the Trojans scored runs, in large part due to the performance of Hazel Green’s Will Stewart.

“We come down here to face pitchers like that,” Irons said of the left-hander. “There were probably five or six major league scouts here just to see him pitch.”

Despite the strength of Stewart’s pitching, CHHS out-hit Hazel Green 6-2.

The Trojans got on the board in the third inning when a single by Chase Smartt scored Reilly Fox who had reached on a bunt. Austin Ingram hit a two-run homer to give CHHS the 3-2 lead.

“Austin was great today,” Irons said. “I couldn’t have asked for any more from  hit. He pitched seven good innings and had that two-run home to give us the lead.”

Ingram’s leadership proved key in the game, Irons said.

“For a senior to come out and set the tone like that for this game and this tournament, I couldn’t have asked for any more.”

Smart was 2-2 at the plate with 1 run and 1 RBI. Ingram was 1-3 with 2 RBI; Fox was 1-3; and Nick Lewis was 1-4.

Irons said he was pleased with his team’s performance throughout the game.

“I proud of our guys,” he said. “They didn’t get down during the game and they kept battling and kept competing.”

Charles Henderson plays Foley at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.