By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
ALABASTER – On April 5, Thompson traveled to Tuscaloosa County and beat the Wildcats 3-2 to move to 2-1 in 7A Area 5 play. Two days later Tuscaloosa County traveled to Alabaster for a doubleheader, and split the ensuing series with Thompson, beating the Warriors 4-2 in the first game before Thompson pulled out the second game, 6-5. While Thompson split the series, the Warriors moved to just 2-2 in area play, as only the first game of the doubleheader counted toward either team’s area record.
Per AHSAA rules, if two area opponents play more than twice in the regular season, only the first regular season game at each home site will count in determining area winning percentage. The second game of the day on April 7, third of the season between the two, will be considered a non-area game for tie-breaking purposes if need be when determining playoff seeding.
Game 1. Tuscaloosa County 4 – Thompson 2
Tuscaloosa County plated a run in the top of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead, which held until the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and a man on base, Noah Machan took the fourth pitch he saw and smacked it over the right field fence, giving the Warriors a 2-1 advantage. That score held until the top of the sixth inning, when the Wildcats scored three runs to take back the lead at 4-2, and eventually won by that margin.
JC Goolsby took the mound to start the game, going 4.1 innings while giving up one run on five hits before he was relived by Lance Johnson, who finished the final 2.2 innings. Riley Reach and Heath Haskins each had two hits on the day while Machan finished 1-for-3 with a homer.
Game 2. Thompson 6 – Tuscaloosa County 5
Thanks to three hits, two errors and a walk, Thompson scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning to take an early 4-0 lead, and held off a late rally from Tuscaloosa County to win 6-5. The Wildcats scored two runs in the sixth and three runs in the top of the seventh to momentarily tie the game at 5-5, but in the bottom of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded, Haskins took the first pitch he saw to center field for a single, scoring Garrett Chandler from third and giving Thompson the 6-5 win.
Drew Williams got the start for Thompson, throwing 90 pitches over six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, before Machan came in in relief to pitch the seventh and final inning.
Thompson advanced to 19-15 after splitting the series.