The North Jackson baseball team is heading back to the playoffs, and it will start the postseason on its home field.
The No. 7-ranked Chiefs defeated Madison County 10-7 Tuesday night in Gurley to clinch the Class 4A Area 14 championship before defeating Madison County 9-2 on Wednesday in Stevenson to complete the series sweep.
North Jackson (21-8, 5-0) will host a Class 4A Area 14 best-of-three series against the 4A Area 16 runner-up on April 23-24.
In Game 1 on Tuesday, the Chiefs scored three runs in the third inning and four in the fifth to take a 7-0 lead. After Madison County (7-15, 2-3) scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth, North Jackson countered with three more runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Carson Smith hit a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs total for the Chiefs while Brandon Poole went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Macklin Guess went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. North Jackson also got a two-run double from Landon Barnes, an RBI double from Luke Guess, a double from Nick Jernigan and an RBI from Jayden Eakin. Smith got the win on the mound, striking out three over four innings pitched.
In Game 2 on Wednesday, Poole hit a two-run homer for the Chiefs at the plate — he also walked twice and scored two runs — and got the win on the mound after posting nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings pitched.
Landon Barnes finished 2-for-4 a double and five RBIs for North Jackson while Macklin Guess had one hit and one RBI, Luke Guess had two hits and Caden Wynne had one hit and one walk.
NSM 11-12, Pisgah 7-2 — At Higdon, Class 2A Area 15 champion North Sand Mountain capped off a perfect run through area play by sweeping an area doubleheader with rival Pisgah on Tuesday.
In the opener, NSM broke a 5-all tie with a six-run bottom of the sixth inning. Bransyn Bridger’s RBI single put the Bison in front, and the inning included Russ Marr’s RBI single, Dylan Marr’s RBI sacrifice fly and Drake Holland’s two-run triple.
Lake Bell finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs while Bridger and Luke Powell both went 2-for-3 for NSM, which got one hit each from Russ Marr, Harley Tucker, Caithan Whited and Derek Bearden. Bell pitched 6 1/3 innings and got the win on the mound, finishing with 10 strikeouts. Tucker pitched the final 2/3 innings and recorded a strikeout.
Mason Overdear had two hits and two RBIs for Pisgah and Jackson Wheeler and Vincent Burke had one hit and one RBI each while John Burke, Conley Rogers, Levi Arnold, Brody Parker and Andrew Turner had one hit each.
In Game 2, Russ Marr pitched a three-hitter while recording 12 strikeouts for NSM (10-2, 6-0) while also posting a double, two RBIs and three runs scored at the plate. Mason Smith went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored while Dylan Marr had one hit, three RBIs and two runs scored, Holland had one hit and one RBI, Powell had one RBI and Bridger had one hit.
Parker had a two-run triple for Pisgah (0-13, 0-6).
Scottsboro 7, Buckhorn 5 — At Scottsboro, the Wildcats built a 6-0 lead after three innings and held off Buckhorn’s rally attempt to earn the win Tuesday night.
Landon Grider finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs for Scottsboro (16-12) while Connor McLaughlin was 2-for-2 with an RBI and Waylon Farr was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Collin Perkins singled for the Wildcats, extending his hitting streak to 16 games (tied with teammate Ethan Wininger for fourth longest in program history). Scottsboro also got one hit each from Wininger, Camden Matthews (RBI), Will Jones and Trey Cooper.
Matthews pitched 3 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and got the win. Everett Loveless struck out three over 2 1/3 innings pitched in relief while A.J. Crocker pitched around two seventh-inning walks to earn the save.
Ider 4, Section 3 — At Ider, No. 9-ranked Hornets broke a 3-all tie with a run in the bottom of the sixth to down the Lions and clinch the runner-up spot in Class 2A Area 15 and their first playoff berth in 10 years.
The loss ended the Lions’ eight-year playoff berth streak from 2012-19 (excluding the COVID-19 canceled 2020 season).
Ider (19-7, 4-2), which rallied for a 15-9 Game 1 win over Section (2-13, 2-4) on Monday, took a 3-1 lead after two innings of Game 2. But the Lions pulled within 3-2 in the fourth on Carter Cooper’s RBI ground out and tied the game in the fifth on Cole Wood’s RBI single. Ider scored the go-ahead run in the sixth when Tyler Brewer reached on an error and later scored on an error.
Woods finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and Blake Henry had one hit and one RBI for Section while Braden Arndt and Logan Patterson both doubled and Drake McCutchen and Jacob Cooper both singled.
McCutchen (two strikeouts over three innings) and Woods (five strikeouts over three innings) combined to hold Ider to just four hits.