Area trio still in hunt for state titles
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
May 14, 2001
West Lauderdale and Lake are both just one win away from state championships, while Heidelberg Academy needs only two more wins to claim a state title as the 2001 high school baseball season enters its final week.
West Lauderdale, 35-5, claimed a 4-3 win over Independence, 28-11, Saturday night in Collinsville to even the Class 3A state finals at one win apiece. Independence won the series opener 5-4 on Thursday.
Todd Doolittle (13-0) struck out 18 batters in Saturday's win by the Knights.
The third and deciding game is slated for tonight at 6 p.m. at Independence.
The Knights will be without the services of leading hitter Brad McKee who suffered a broken finger in Saturday's win. McKee entered the series batting .449 with nine doubles, two triples, five homers, and 38 RBIs.
Obviously, McKee's absence opens the door for someone else to be the hero for coach Jerry Boatner's squad.
Lake holds a 1-0 series lead over Hamilton in the Class 1A finals after Game 2 was rained out Saturday night at Lake. The second game in the series has been rescheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at Lake.
Lake rallied for a 7-3 win in Thursday's Game 1.
The Hornets are expected to go with Craig Martin (9-1, 1.98 ERA) in tonight's game, while Hamilton is expected to start Lance Reed (4-0) or Jeff Schafer (7-1).
A third game, if needed, would be Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Hamilton.
Martin has 12 doubles and 33 RBIs to go with a .384 batting average for the Hornets, 28-7. Eric Gunn (.439, 20 RBI) leads Lake in batting average. Also swinging a hot bat are Jake Nester (.364, 5 2B, 8 HR, 31 RBI) and Bryan Williamson (.360, 7 2B, 26 RBI).
Leading the Lions, 25-4, at the plate are Josh Baty (.440, 13 2B, 6 HR, 28 RBI), John Ross McCartney (.391, 7 2B), and Reed (.377, 9 2B).
Heidelberg Academy, 19-4, swept through its first three series in the Academy A playoffs to reach the final round with Porter's Chapel, 21-11.
Game 1 is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Vicksburg with Games 2 and 3, if needed, Friday at Heidelberg with a 4:30 p.m. start.
The Rebels will bring a 16-game win streak into the state championship series, their first in school history.
Porter's Chapel is making just its second appearance in the state finals.
Heidelberg is also looking for its fifth consecutive 20-win season.
Leading Heidelberg are Scott McInnis (6 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR), Derek McKee (7 2B, 4 HR), Matt Culberson (6 2B), Blake Bass (5 2B, 5 HR), Heath Ainsworth (4 2B, 2 HR), Brent Welch (3 2B), Ryan Aultman (4 HR), Brooks Lewis (1 3B), Lee Aultman, Matthew Andrews, and J.R. Stephenson.
Culberson is 8-0 on the mound, while Lewis is 6-1.
The week will be a busy one for Rebels' head coach Tony Ainsworth as he is pulling a two-week stint at Camp Shelby.
The two teams were slated to meet on March 14 in a tournament at Porter's Chapel, but rain washed that meeting out after the Rebels had driven to Vicksburg.
Heidelberg defeated Tri-County (17-7, 12-11), Kemper Academy (5-1, 16-3), and Rossville, Tenn., (9-4, 11-5) to reach the finals.
Porter's Chapel needed three games to get past Huntington (La.) in the semifinal round. Included in that was Huntington's first home-field loss this spring.
Top batters for the Eagles of Porter's Chapel's are Heath Smith (11 2B), T.J. Smith (9 2B, 3 HR), Clayton Hensley (8 2B), Andrew Embry (7 2B), Trey White (7 2B, 3 HR), Kyle Erhardt (6 2B, 5 HR), Walter Bliss (5 2B), Dustin Abbott, and Jeremiah Riggs (3 HR).
On the mound, Heath Smith improved to 11-1 with Saturday's 4-2 third game win over Huntington (La.). Embry is 3-2. Embry has been wild at times. He hit four batters and walked two while facing just nine batters in the series with Amite.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper @themeridianstar.com.