E.A. Sports Today

‘Not meant to be’

Piedmont falls to Phil Campbell in decisive Game 3 of Class 3A semifinal series

Bayside Academy 10-5, Providence Christian 0-4 (Bayside Academy wins series 2-0)
Phil Campbell 6-13-12, Piedmont 7-0 2 (Phil Campbell wins series 2-1)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PHIL CAMPBELL – Piedmont won a lot of baseball games in a season that in some ways far exceeded expectations, but there was always danger lingering just under the surface. And it came to the fore when the Bulldogs needed to be at their sharpest.

A questionable dropped ball in the outfield on the third pitch of the home first opened the door for a six-run inning that erased an early Piedmont lead and sent Phil Campbell on its way to a 12-2 win in Game 3 of their Class 3A state semifinal series Friday.

The Bulldogs (34-7) had two errors in the deciding game – both in the first inning – and were charged with 15 in the series. Thirteen of the 31 runs the Bobcats (38-5) scored in the series were unearned.

“It was kind of the elephant in the room,” Bulldogs coach Matt Deerman said. “We never played a clean game defensively all year. It was bad last night and it was pretty bad today.”

The Bulldogs (34-7) rode the momentum of their Game 2 rally to grab a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Sean Smith’s two-out, two-run homer.

On the third pitch of the bottom of the inning, Mason Swinney lofted a ball to center that sure-handed outfielder Max Hanson either missed or dropped on the exchange. In either case, Swinney was on second and the Bobcats were on their way to a six-run inning.

One run scored on a double steal. Another run scored on an error. Another on a passed ball.

“A lot of things happened that took a lot of air out of us,” Deerman said. “It was one thing after another. Nothing went our way today. It was one of them days it wasn’t meant to be.”

Trey Leindecker hit a three-run homer in the fourth and the Bobcats added three more in the sixth on three bases-loaded walks.

The Bulldogs put together threats in the second and third innings, but each time the Bobcats squashed them.

“They were really solid defensively,” Deerman said. “They made some plays on balls that had been hits for us all year. Their middle infield was really, really good. Anytime we thought we had something going, they came up with a big play.”

Phil Campbell will play Bayside Academy (27-7) in the Class 3A state championship series next week in Montgomery.

Game 3
Phil Campbell 12, Piedmont 2
Piedmont              200 000 –   2  5  2
Phil Campbell     600 303 – 12  8   0
WP: Ridge Raper. LP: Noah Reedy. 2B: Bryant Hyde (PC). HR: Sean Smith (P), Trey Leindecker (PC).

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