ARITON — Senior pitcher GW Long Jackson Chancey didn’t feel well against Ariton on Friday.
However, he was quite good, allowing only five hits and one ride in the whole match. It didn’t hurt that his teammates turned three singles around him and the Rebels’ offensive took the opportunity. These three aspects sparked a 6-1 victory over the Purple Cats at Ariton’s Thad Dansby Field.
The victory ended a two-match two-day sweep for the top-ranked rebels from 2A over their district and class 2A rivals in Area 3. Long (20-7, 4-0) combined with Friday’s Elby victory over Zion Chapel won the title in the area. Ariton finishes second.
“It’s the most important match of the year for us next to the state championship (matches),” Chancey said of the rivalry with Ariton. “Defeating them is one of our main goals. It feels good to beat our rival. “
Long also beat Ariton 5-0 after four hits by Blayn McDaniel.
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“It’s always a big win to beat Ariton,” said Long coach Drew Miller. “It’s a big rival in the county and they have a good baseball team. We played well and we played well. That was our trademark – if we play in defense and play on the field, we were lucky to get to the top. Jackson and Blayne threw great. We could not ask for more from them. “
For Ariton, Friday’s loss continued in a recent downward spiral. The Purple Cats lost for the fourth time in a row and dropped to 12-14 overall and 4-2 in the board game.
Purple Cat head coach Logan Dunlap pointed to last year as a motivation for his team to turn around. A year after Long and Ariton met in the regular season, Ariton flew high and Long struggled to lose the series with the Purple Cats. However, the Rebels turned things around and made it to the round of the state championship, thanks in part to a dramatic win in the state semifinal over Ariton.
“I told the guys that GW Long will play well in the playoffs and they will be there,” Dunlap said. “It’s so bad for us that you want it again.” We need to get back to the drawing board and we need to find a way to improve to give us another chance to overturn the scenario.
“It’s similar to last year. They played like we did last year and we played really well. Now it’s the other way around. I don’t think our team has reached the top yet, so it’s encouraging. We just have to figure out what will help start this top-notch process. “
While Chancey allowed only one run, most of the match had to deal with traffic because the Purple Cats put the runners on the base in the first six shifts. However, the Rebels ‘defense helped the Rebels’ thrower from three double games, two of which ended inning.
“Turning three double games was a turning point for me,” Miller said. “When you turn one shift, it’s big to change one shift, but when you change three shifts, it’s huge.”
Chancey was grateful for the defensive work around him.
“That’s huge, especially when I’m not in match A,” Chancey said. “The three double games in the game are incredibly good.”
In the second inning, Chancey hit Dalton Murphy from a 3-2 pitch with one out. Paxton Steed of Ariton then flew to the middle Wednesday. Murphy’s polite runner got close to second base when midfielder McDaniel caught the ball and shot the first player on the field, Cullis Kelly, to double the runner.
In the fifth, Caden Collier moved to the second base on Ariton’s wild field with one out. Chancey defeated Lawson Leger on the field 3-2 with Collier in third place, and Rebel catcher Mikey Vanderheyden fired Collier to try to steal and kicked them out of the double game.
A change later, the Rebels turned to a more conventional double play. After a mistake on the Connor Thrash device, Landon Tyler hit the middle, which Long shortstop Trevor Morris set up, stepped on the second base bag and shot the first player Kelly to kill the twins.
Although he allowed nine Purple Cat racers, Chancey finished eight hits and covered a long distance to win the pitch.
“It was not my best match, but I gave up only one attempt. I won and that’s all that counts, “said Chancey.
Miller added, “He struggled at times today, trying to find a rhythm and trying to get into the zone at a consistent speed, but he did enough.”
Rebel’s attack, meanwhile, scored points in four of the seven shifts, two of them in the first two shifts.
Morris led the game with one on the left pitch on the first pitch and McDaniel followed with a walk. They both moved a long way to the base to Chancey’s left. Brant Brady, who led the Rebels’ attack with two hits and three bat-hits, performed a double match in the right field and gave Long a 2-0 lead.
A change later went to Kelly and Bryson Hughes sat in a hole for a short stop to open the frame. Two shots later, Morris tore the double third base bag and scored Kelly. Hughes then scored on McDaniel’s land and raised to 4: 0.
The Purple Cats pushed through at the bottom of the third. Mutual single-outs from Collier and Leger set the racers in the corners. After a brief drop, Chancey threw wild misfortune with Tyler on a plate and Collier ran home to score.
The Rebels got back in the fourth and increased the lead to 5-1. Hayes Horne reached for the bloop single, stole the second and scored in the single McDaniel.
Long added his final ride in sixth. Morris reached for a hard-hitting device and stole the second in front of McDaniel, who followed him with a single, bringing Morris to third place. Victim Brady to fly to Wednesday scored Morris.
The Rebels finished with 11 hits – 10 singles and one double. Morris, McDaniel and Brady had two strikes each.
Collier led Ariton’s attack on five shots with two singles.
For the game, Ariton left five racers at the base in addition to hitting or running into three double games. Dunlap noted that the Purple Cats only had a leading inning tracker at the base once – he came sixth after a mistake before the double game.
“You will have trouble scoring rides and generating anything on attack (if not done consistently),” Dunlap said.
The team ended two days of fighting for the Purple Cats, who scored only once in 14 shifts against the Rebels’ pitching.
“Hat down in front of them, they did a good job of getting us off balance and getting ahead (in counting) on our trackers,” Dunlap said. “Offensive, we haven’t been able to run anything in the last two days.” It’s back on the drawing board. “