E.A. Sports Today

Cubs blank Tigers, sweep into second round

Dodd, Whitley keep Springville off the board; advance to play Mortimer Jordan

By Kady Curvin
For East Alabama Sports Today

ALEXANDRIA — The Alexandria Valley Cubs and the Springville Tigers squared off in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs, playing two games that proved both teams were hard to handle and dominated by the Cubs’ pitching staff.

Cody Dodd shut out the Tigers in Saturday’s opener, 10-0, pitching a five-inning complete game and striking out five. Justin Whitley followed with a three-hit shutout in the nightcap pitchers’ duel, 4-0.

The third-ranked Cubs (29-3) now travel to No. 7 Moritmer Jordan for the second round next weekend.

“We just had two great pitching performers, Whitley and Dodd, and we made the routine plays behind them, and then we kind of scratched out a few hits there,” Cubs coach Andy Shaw said. “They helped us out with a lot of errors, but I thought our boys played well and theirs did, too. They did a good job on the mound too, but we were just a little better today.”

Derrik Turner got the job done at the plate in the opener, going 3-for-3 with three singles and three runs. He said he was “glad that we finally started doing the little things right.”

The Cubs got the ball rolling early, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Dalton Cobb walked and rode home on an RBI hit by Reaves. Reaves scored by stealing home, and Wells came in on an RBI by Dodd. Zach Stevens, courtesy running for Dodd, came home wild throws.

The Tigers came close to scoring in the third when they put runners on first and second base with two outs. A line drive was hit to centerfield and caught by Dalton Warren to end the inning. This would be the only chance they had to score.

Alexandria scored twice more in the third and four in the fourth. Dalton Warren reached on an error and Cobb blasted a double to score him. Dakota Kelley popped out allowing Cobb to score. Two more runs came in, making it 10-0. The Cubs held the Tigers in the fifth inning with a double play, allowing them to win by run rule.

“It felt great to go out there and throw against a good team like them, a good hitting team, and to shut them out,” said Dodd.

The second game was a pitchers’ duel. Bailey Gillespie started for Springville and kept the Cubs scoreless for six innings. He gave up three hits and a bunt and struck out five. Whitley gave up three hits with four strikeouts.

“It feels pretty good because the guys on the team can look at me as a leader whenever I’m on the mound, and I can lead them to a victory,” Whitley said.

Both teams had chances to score early in the game. Chance Williams was left on base twice, once in the third inning and once in the fifth. Warren was left on in the sixth. Nick Hutchins of Springville was left on in the fifth, and two more for the Tigers couldn’t score in the sixth.

The Cubs finally broke it open with four in the seventh. Whitley broke the scoreless tie with a two-run, bases-loaded double. Warren bunted home Williams and Riley Shaw had a sacrifice fly.

Kady Curvin is a junior at Alexandria High School.

On the cover, Alexandria seniors Derrik Turner (L) and Justin Whitley had big games a couple days after their college signing ceremony.

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