The North Jackson Chiefs have booked their reservations for the Class 4A state baseball playoffs.
No. 3-ranked Chiefs secured a playoff berth with a 9-5 win over DAR to complete a sweep of the teams’ Class 4A Area 14 series Wednesday at Stevenson Park.
North Jackson (17-4, 2-0) needs to win one of the first two games of its area series with Randolph next week in order to win the area championship and earn the right to host a first-round playoff series April 19-20.
After posting an 11-4 win over DAR (9-9, 1-3) on Tuesday in Grant, North Jackson fell behind 4-0 after the top of the first before countering with five runs in the bottom half of the inning thanks to an RBI double by Carter Gass and RBI singles from Brandon Poole, Jordan Eakin, Logan Morris and Landon Barnes. The Chiefs added two more runs in the third when Macklin Guess (courtesy running for the pitcher, Gass, who reached on a DAR error) scored on a DAR error and Barnes (hit by a pitch) scored on John Matthews’ fielder’s choice. North Jackson moved in front 8-4 in the fourth when Eakin doubled, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Morris’ RBI sacrifice fly. The Chiefs added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Poole walked, moved to third on Eakin’s single and scored on Morris’ RBI bunt single.
Eakin finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and Morris was 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Chiefs while Barnes was 2-for-2 with an RBI and Cade Bellomy was 2-for-4. Poole, Gass, Jody Moore and Deshawn Ware had one hit each.
Gass pitched a complete game on the mound for North Jackson. The right-hander recorded nine strikeouts while allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits. He did not issue a walk.
NSM 3-6, Section 2-5 — At Higdon, North Sand Mountain swept Section to stay in contention for a playoff berth by winning the teams’ Class 2A Area 16 series.
The second game of Thursday’s doubleheader did not count in the area standings, but it will serve as a tiebreaker if NSM and Section finish tied in the area standings, which currently have Fyffe at 4-0, Section at 3-1, NSM at 1-3 and Ider at 0-4.
NSM would clinch a playoff berth if it sweeps Ider next week and Fyffe sweeps Section. Section needs only one win against Fyffe or one Ider win over NSM to clinch a playoff berth. The Lions can win the area championship should it sweep Fyffe.
NSM (2-8), which lost to Section 6-5 on Tuesday, claimed the series on Lake Bell’s walk-off RBI single that drove in Drake Holland in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Russ Marr finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and Jayden Culpepper went 2-for-4 for the Bison while Bell, Landon Green, Houston Jackson had one hit each. Culpepper pitched the final four innings and got the win on the mound.
Trevier Porter went 2-for-3 for Section while Wiley McCutchen doubled and drove in two runs and Johnathan Carroll had one hit, one RBI and two runs scored.
In the opener, NSM scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to get the win. Austin Hill scored what turned out to be the winning run on Holland’s RBI groundout.
Green finished 2-for-3 with an RBI while Hill and Marr had one hit each for the Bison. Marr pitched a complete game on the mound to get the win. The sophomore recorded seven strikeouts.
Cole Woods and Blake Henry had one hit and one RBI for Section (7-8) while Porter, Taylor Payne and Jacob Gentry had one hit each.
Gaylesville 13, Woodville 0 — At Woodville, Class 1A Area 15 champion Gaylesville completed a series sweep of the Panthers on Thursday.
Nathan Gardner and Christian Chambers had one hit each for Woodville (0-11, 0-3). Brayden Storhdahl and Hayden Mitchell had three RBIs each for Gaylesville (8-8, 4-0).