“I’m proud of my team,” Phillips said. “They battle. Yeah, we make mistakes, but they keep fighting, just like there in the last inning we tried to get a little rally going. We got one run across and left the bases loaded. But I’m very proud of them. I thought Levi (Blanchard) and Austin (Brasher) pitched well enough; I think they both pitched well enough for a win. We just couldn’t get it for them.”
Fayetteville lost to Cedar Bluff 11-1 and to Athens Bible School 3-2 Thursday. Maplesville lost to Falkville and St. Luke’s to set up the matchup between the two teams. Maplesville head coach Brandon Shanks said beating a team as good as Fayetteville is big for his team.
“Fayetteville is a great team,” Shanks said. “Coach Morris Phillips does a great job with the guys. We took two hard losses yesterday and to come out and get the win, it was big for us. Colby Chambers did a great job for us on the mound. He threw a complete game for us. He’s our team leader and he did a good job there. We just got key hits when we needed them, when we had runners in scoring position.”
Maplesville got on the board in the top of the second inning. Starting pitcher Colby Chambers hit a ball to third base, but the hard-hit grounder ricocheted into the outfield.
Starting pitcher, Levi Blanchard, who cruised through the first inning, issued three consecutive walks to bring a run home. Blanchard settled down to strike out the next two batters. Zack Bush reached base on an error to bring in another run and give Maplesville an early 2-0 lead.
Phillips thought that was the inning that determined the outcome of the game.
“Levi had one bad inning, but that’s not really a bad inning because the first guy gets on with an error,” Phillips said. “If we get that out and he walks the three batters in a row, he strikes out the next two batters and we’re out of the inning. We get out of the inning with no runs and the three walks don’t hurt us. We led off the inning with an error, we threw the three walks, we get two strikeouts and we’ve got two outs and then we boot the ball again. That was the inning that killed us. I don’t think they had a hit that inning. Three walks and the errors kill you every time.”
Fayetteville answered with a run on the board in the bottom of the inning.
Steve Brasher got on first by way of an error by the shortstop. Courtesy runner Darious Cook stole second and third base. Slade Scroggins hit a grounder to third base and reached safely on an error, allowing Cook to score to make it 2-1.
Brett Walker took a walk to start the third inning. Chambers followed that up with a single between the gap at shortstop and third base and made it to second base on the unsuccessful relay throw to try to get the runner at third base. Trent Smitherman hit a deep fly ball to right field and Walker tagged up to score.
Two runners got on to start the fourth inning. Trevor Wallace laid down a bunt but the throw to third base wasn’t fielded cleanly, allowing a run to score to give Maplesville a 4-1 lead.
Austin Brasher entered the game as a relief pitcher with the bases loaded and no outs but got through the inning with no further damage.
“He did a great job,” Phillips said of Brasher’s pitching. “I’m very impressed with him. He came in, in a tight situation. I think he came in with the bases loaded and he got the side out without allowing a run. So, I was proud of him for doing that. He didn’t give up a hit until his fourth inning of work, so he battled and I’m real proud of him.”
In the bottom of the inning, Fayetteville got two runners on with no outs, but couldn’t take advantage and score.
“We had some hits and just couldn’t capitalize when we got guys on,” Phillips said. “I know at one point we had runners on first and second with no outs and couldn’t get the bunt down to move them over and couldn’t get them in. It’s just one of those things.”
Maplesville was able to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh to make it 5-1.
Fayetteville showed life in the bottom of the seventh inning with a bases loaded rally, but were unable to get enough runs for the win. With two runners on, Weston Brassell hit a deep shot to the wall in center field, allowing Scroggins to score. Mason Vick took a walk to load the bases with one out. Zach McGrady hit a grounder to third base for a force out at home plate. Tyler Pennington struck out to end the game.
Moving forward, Phillips wants to see his team improve on defense.
“I thought our pitchers did a good job of pitching for us today,” he said. “We’ve just got to make the plays behind them, the routine plays that hurt us. It’s something that’s bit us all year. I think that’s one of our biggest concerns we have right now is defense.”