E.A. Sports Today

Alexandria’s in

UPDATED: Valley Cubs clinch baseball playoff spot with 10-0 shutout of Lincoln

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

ALEXANDRIA — The players and coaches on the Alexandria baseball team believe the Valley Cubs have the drive, heart and talent to finally bring the school a state championship from the diamond.

Of course, you can’t win it if you’re not in it. The Valley Cubs took care of that little piece of business Wednesday, erupting for 10 runs in their final two bats and taking down Lincoln 10-0 in five innings to clinch a spot in the Class 5A playoffs.

They can win the area championship next week against St. Clair County.

“Our first goal here was to get in the playoffs,” Cubs coach Andy Shaw said. “It all matters about how you played in May. You hope you get to May.”

The third-ranked Cubs (22-2, 4-0) scored four runs in the third inning with only one hit – a leadoff single by Riley Shaw – and then scored six after two were out in the fourth to secure their 15th straight victory.

The curious part of it was the Cubs put runners in scoring position in the first two innings and couldn’t deliver the key hit. Then in the third three runners raced home on wild pitches and a fourth scored when the catcher’s throw retrieving a wild pitch rolled through the pitcher covering into the infield.

They drove in runs the next inning. It looked like Lincoln pitcher Zay Caldwell was going to escape another jam, then with two outs, the next five Alexandria batters reached base with the four hits in the bunch driving in runs.

Derrik Turner and Will Reaves had RBI singles, Cody Dodd had an RBI double and Jacob Heathcock had a two-run triple. Heathcock scored when Caldwell bounced a pitch in the dirt and over the backstop screen.

Eight of the Cubs’ nine hitting starters reached base at least once. Shaw had two hits and Heathcock and Cody Dodd both reached base all three times they batted. Right-fielder Reaves saved a run in the first when he gunned a runner at the plate to complete an inning-ending double play.

“I’m pretty excited to be able to go to the playoffs and make a run,” said senior left-hander Justin Whitley, who improved to 7-0 win the win. “I feel like if we play together we can make it a long ways.”

Whitley certainly gives them a chance; he is 17-1 over the last two seasons. He allowed three infield singles and struck out nine against the Bears. His last loss came to Oxford in the middle of last season and he admitted it “motivated me to get better.”

Whitley said he felt good from the bullpen all the way through. He said all three of his pitchers were working for strikes against the Bears.

“He’s doing a good job,” Shaw said. “He’s been in the strike zone not walking folks. He gives us a chance every time he goes out there. He’s just a good pitcher, a great competitor.”

On the cover: Justin Whitley delivers a pitch early in Alexandria’s victory over Lincoln.

Alexandria 10, Lincoln 0 (5 inns.)

Lincoln 000 00 — 0 3 1
Alexandria 004 6x — 10 7 1

ZAY CALDWELL and Jaden Tetro; JUSTIN WHITLEY and Derrick Turner, Chase Heindl (5). 2B: Cody Dodd (A). 3B: Jacob Heathcock (A). WP: Whitley (7-0). LP: Caldwell.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login