Fairview bounces back to defeat Lee-Huntsville 9-2, forcing a game 3

Johnny Thornton

FAIRVIEW – Fairview baseball coach Brandon Tidmore saw a similar pattern for his Aggies in the first round of the AHSAA 5A state playoffs after what his team experienced last week in their quest to clinch a playoff berth.

Fairview got roughed up in game one by Lee-Huntsville 16-6 Thursday afternoon, then showed poise, coming back and romping over the Generals 9-2 to force game three in this first-round series in the North region.

The finale will be at 5 p.m. Friday with the winner to move on to the second round and face the winner of the Etowah-Cleburne County series.

"We didn't play well in game one," Tidmore said. "We got outplayed. We did that last week against West Point when we dropped game one of that series, that we didn't need to. We found a way to respond then and did so tonight."

Fairview, who managed just four hits in the opener, came out swinging in the nightcap. The Aggies were the visiting team in game two, a format used by the AHSAA in the baseball playoffs, and went ahead 5-0 after a half inning.

Lane Schnittker singled, Clay Lanier walked to send Preston Moore to the plate. Moore took a curve ball from Lee left-hander Trevor Sanders and sent it over the left-field fence for a 3-0 lead.

With one out, Dane Black singled, and after Tyler Ball popped to first for the second out, Truman Boyd tripled into the gap in right-center with Black racing home to make it 4-0.

Riley Carroll was hit by a pitch to extend the inning with the ninth batter in the lineup, Garrett Dunn, getting a single to score Boyd, and the Aggies were in front, 5-0, heading to the bottom of the first.

Fairview added two runs in the third when Moore crushed another pitch over left field for his second homer of the game. Ragan Ashley drew a walk and later scored on a double from Boyd with the lead now at 7-0.

A possible eighth run was taken off the scoreboard when the umpires reversed a call on a wild pitch to Carroll. Boyd took third when the pitch got past the catcher then the ball went into the Fairview dugout on the third-base side. Boyd came home, but after a discussion from the umpires, he was sent back to third.

Carroll struck out and the inning was over with Boyd still at third, but Fairview leading 7-0.

Ball was effective for the Aggies on the mound. The left hander allowed one hit to the Generals through the first five innings. Lee scored a run in the fourth due to a couple of errors by the Aggies' infield and narrowed the margin to 7-1. Ball got out of trouble when Brandon Powell's grounder in front of the plate was handled by Carroll, who threw to Black at first and the inning was over.

In the top of the sixth, Lanier was hit in the back of the neck by a pitch. He lost his balance momentarily and was taken to the dugout and looked at by a sports trainer. He was replaced by Derek Jones.

Lanier went to the emergency room at Cullman Regional following the game for further evaluation.

Lee added a run in its half of the sixth on a wild pitch that brought home Parion Alexander. But Ball again got out of further trouble when Caleb Rodriguez singled to right; Dunn threw from right to Carroll at the plate with Noah Hill too far off the bag at third.

Carroll zipped a throw to Ashley at third, who made a swipe tag to get Hill, and Lee's threat was done for the inning.

The Aggies added insurance runs in the seventh on Ball's RBI single, scoring Black, who led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ball came home when Boyd ripped a double to right-center and the score was 9-2.

Boyd was 3-of-4 in game two with two doubles, a triple, two runs batted in and two runs scored. His bat supported Moore's, who finished 3-of-4 with two home runs and four runs driven in.

In the bottom of the seventh, Lee's Jalen Pearson was ejected when he was called out on a close play at first. Pearson slammed his helmet to the ground, and the first-base umpire ejected the junior ball player.

Pearson was the winning pitcher for the Generals in game one and was 5-of-6 in the two games with three runs scored and two runs batted in.

His status for game three was undetermined at the conclusion of the nightcap on Thursday.

Ball gave up consecutive singles following the ejection of Pearson, then got Alexander to ground to Moore at short to end the two-hour contest. The Aggies outhit the Generals 12-9 in the nightcap as Ball walked one batter and struck out six.

"We live to play another day," Tidmore said after the game.

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