Seymour fights way to title
The District III AA baseball playoffs Tuesday night at Carter Park started with game one featuring the Carter Hornets against the Gibbs Eagles. This game was the first of the losing bracket games. The second game featured the Alcoa Tornadoes versus favorite, Seymour Eagles.
Gibbs’ Eagles came into the district tournament a five seed, but had a chance to continue their season after beating fourth seed Fulton in a play-in game. After losing their first round game to Seymour, they hoped to pull another upset against third seed Carter, Tuesday night. The seniors of the losing team would be playing their last high school baseball game.
Eagle’s pitcher Drew Housewright threw the ball consistently. Carter’s only effective bats came from the middle of their lineup. Jordan Heuttel and Mark Allen Bounds each acquired a hit, while Andrew Taylor got the Hornet’s only RBI, driving in Adrian Myers. Senior Richard Blake also scored a run in his last high school game. This wasn’t enough to stop Gibbs’ Eagles from climbing up the tournament ladder, turning them into the tourneys dark horse.
In the end, Gibbs would be victorious. Their streak of upsets continued, as they redirected their attention towards the second game; Alcoa versus Seymour.
As many expected, the contest was not even close. Alcoa was given a puncher’s chance at best by most, and in the top of the first, they came out swinging. What seemed like a threat was diminished quickly with a force out at third base, ending the top of the first inning.
Seymour was not up to bat, they were up to dominate, and they were not wasting any time. The Eagles of Seymour put up 6 runs in the bottom of the first. The pace of a baseball game actually speeds up if there is no scoring, and starting in the second inning, the game showed some hustle. The only action of note in the middle innings was an outstanding fielding performance from Seymour second baseman Dylan Cowen. He dove for a ball in the third inning, squared up to first and threw from his knees just moments too late. In the very next inning he made an almost identical diving stop, only this time, he got the out. His ability to gobble up everything that came near him was probably the most impressive performance of the evening.
Seymour came out of their stagnant middle inning play in the bottom of the fourth. The game was appropriately blown open when Alcoa’s Tornadoes gave up a triple to catcher Aaron Lambert. The Eagles would eventually win in 5 innings 11-0.
With the win, Seymour is poised for their second straight district championship, and looking to go further. Last year, Seymour went on the win the Regional tournament, and anything less would not be up to the Eagle’s elevated bar.
Carter Field was the home for two games Wednesday night as the District tournament rolled on. Alcoa and Gibbs were vying for the championship game against the Seymour Eagles in the first game. Alcoa started things off quickly and had acquired a 5-1 lead by the third inning. They held on to that lead tightly for two more innings before disaster stuck.
Gibbs managed to bring home two runs in the fifth inning to bring the game within two. Alcoa stopped the Eagles from scoring anymore in the inning but could not capitalize while at bat. Both teams replaced their pitchers during the fifth inning to bring in some fresh throwing. For Gibbs this worked in their favor. Alcoa was not so lucky.
A base hit set up what would bring Gibbs to tie the game. J.R. Day stepped up to the plate and belted a homerun over the wall, bringing the bench out in a frenzy. Alcoa’s lead was torn down and Gibbs was looking for more.
The game went into the eighth inning when neither team could score in the seventh. It was yet again Gibbs scoring a run to take the lead. Alcoa had one more chance at bat before going home. The Eagles managed to end the game after a base hit, tagging the runner out at second.
Game two saw a rematch from the first round as the Seymour Eagles battled the Gibbs Eagles. The game began just like game one, only this time it was Gibbs that pulled to an early lead. Gibbs loaded the bases after three singles and a walk, then #6 Harless brought in three runners with a pop fly toward right field. After catching the next batter out at first Nipper hit a homerun to bring the lead to 4-0. Cody Church faked a throw to first to bring the runner back to base and the umpire called for an automatic advance of all players on base. This caused the third baseman to score and place a man on second. At the end of the first Seymour was down 6-0.
The second inning began the two out curse. Seymour’s first two at bats popped out, Aaron Lambert advanced to first on a line drive plus four batters walked ending up giving Seymour two runs. A double by Chase Fellin brought the game within two runs.
The rest of the game followed this same back and forth action, both teams netting two outs easily then having a problem with the third, until Seymour finally managed to take the lead in bottom of the fifth. Two Gibbs errors in a row gave Seymour an 8-7 lead. Gibbs never recovered as Seymour scored one last run to take the District Championship by a score of 9-7.
The Eagles went undefeated through out the tournament and advance to the Regional tournament.