Scottsboro head baseball coach Blake Talley has talked several times to this team about the importance of responding to adversity.
When Guntersville put Scottsboro in a tight spot on Thursday, the Wildcats remembered what their head coach had been preaching.
Scottsboro made a big play in the field in the top of the fifth inning and then broke the game open at the plate en route to completing a Class 5A Area 15 series sweep of Guntersville with a 9-1 victory Thursday at Scottsboro High School.
Guntersville pulled within a run in the top of the fifth inning and just missed tying the game. Scottsboro responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning and was never threatened again.
“(Guntersville) kind of punched back to get it to 2-1 and put some pressure onus , and we answered right back,” Talley said. “When somebody punches us, we want to punch back twice as hard. We did that, went up there, stuck with our approach, and got some great swings. I was very happy with that (response).”
Scottsboro (8-5, 2-0), which posted a 12-1 win over Guntersville (7-11, 0-2) in Game 1 on Tuesday, got two stellar pitching performances during the series. After Christian Herberholz pitched a three-hitter on Tuesday, Riley Bennett followed with an 11-strikeout complete-game effort.
“Those two guys just went out there pounded the (strike) zone,” Talley said. “They’re competitors with really good stuff.”
With host Scottsboro leading 2-0 in the fifth — the Wildcats scored twice in the third on Herberholz’s RBI hit by pitch and Ethan Wininger’s RBI sacrifice fly — the visitors pushed a run across and then tried to sneak the tying run home while Scottsboro was trying to make an out at second base.
But shortstop Reed Latimer, who had dived unsuccessfully toward second base to try to get a force out, threw home to catcher Dalton Wood, who applied the tag on Guntersville’s Logan Pate to end the inning and keep the Wildcats in front.
“Reed, he made a good play on it, a very smart play,” Bennett said. “One he saw that he didn’t have the out, he looked up saw the guy coming home. He made a good throw and Dalton did a good job of staying in there and catching it.”
Scottsboro answered in a big way, getting an RBI single from Herberholz, an RBI double from Camden Matthews, a two-run double from Wood and an RBI single from Lane Pits. Scottsboro added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles from Wininger and Bennett.
Latimer finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored and Bennett was 2-for-3 with an RBI while Wood was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Herberholz and Wininger both had one hit and two RBIs and Matthews and Pitts each had one hit and one RBI.
Bennett said the Wildcats, who are aiming for their first playoff appearance since 2016, were glad to begin area play on a strong note.
“That was our goal,” he said, “to start (area play) with a sweep.”