Sparkman sweeps Bob Jones; claims playoff spotPublished 11:20pm Friday, April 11, 2014
HARVEST- The muffled voices and long faces said it all. In the span of one week the range of emotions went from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows for Bob Jones baseball players.
A Sparkman 4-2 win in the critical first game of a doubleheader coupled with an11-3 win in the final Area 15 series meant the Patriots needed help to make the playoffs. A few minutes later, the final shoe dropped when it was announced Hazel Green had defeated Buckhorn 7-3, thus winning the area. Sparkman finished second on the strength of two wins over Bob Jones.
The game featured two sophomores on the mound. Sparkman threw Breonn Pooler and Bob Jones threw Luke Whaley.
“Both pitchers matched each other pitch for pitch and we caught a break when the ball in the hole got away and we scored a run,” said Sparkman Coach Kellen Greer.
Five Bob Jones batters (Ward, Chandler, Burch, Shepherd, and Bernier) went 0-for-3 at the plate against Pooler who notched his sixth win of the season. Colin Dupree had a two run home run to account for all the Patriots scoring.
The hitting star was Sparkman’s freshman catcher, Jarod Howell, who slugged two home runs.
Howell connected for a two run shot in the third inning and a solo shot in the fifth.
With the game tied 2-2, Sparkman scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error allowing Will Sipes to score from first base on a single by Breonn Pooler. Pooler was thrown out at second base. Howell came up to bat and was initially ruled out on a foul ball caught by third baseman Shepherd Trammell. But the out was overruled by a ground rule that said a ball caught on the concrete by the gate outside Sparkman’s dugout was out of play. Howell was given another chance to bat and with a full count slugged a Whaley pitch over the left field fence.
“If he doesn’t hit those home runs we don’t win that game because we didn’t do much offensively. He has been doing it all year,” Greer said of Howell who hit his tenth home run of the season.
Greer and Bob Jones Coach David Langston go back a long ways. Greer played for Langston at MinorHigh School and at Jefferson State and coached on his staff at Northwest Shoals Community College.
“There’s not a bad team in our area. These guys (Bob Jones) know how to win,” Greer said.
Bob Jones had won four straight area championships, all under former coach Dan Bell.
Langston is in his first season as head coach. The last time Bob Jones missed the playoffs was 2009, the final year of former coach Ron Hall’s tenure as head baseball coach.
“We expect to make the playoffs every year and in our area it is not easy,” Greer said.
The second game of the doubleheader was won by Bob Jones 11-9 but the final area standings had already been determined.
Bob Jones will wrap up their season with home games against Huntsville on April 14 and at Austin on April 15.
Sparkman will travel to Area 16 winner Decatur to play a three game series next Friday and Saturday.