Coosa Valley Academy wins AISA Class A State Championship
MONTGOMERY - The Coosa Valley Academy Rebels scored early and often as they defeated Wilcox Academy 14-6 in the championship game of the AISA State Baseball Tournament on Tuesday at Paterson Field in Montgomery.
This is the Rebels second championship in four years. For first year head coach Bobby Hughes winning this championship capped of what’s been a season full of adversity.
“It is hard to handle right now,” Hughes said. “It has been a tough season for me. My mom passed away this year and I had to go through a lot of adversity. It has been a tough season and I really had to bear down on certain things. It is awesome; that’s all I can say right now.”
In the first inning the Rebels of CVA (37-9) exploded for five runs to take an early 5-0- lead. The scoring started when Ricky Ellison was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Phillip Neal to make it 1-0. Gage Holmes hit a double to score Justin Floyd and Jarrod Mims to make it 3-0. Stephen Cryer scored on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Kennedy to give the Rebels a 4-0 lead. Ricky Ellison scored on a passed ball to give Coosa Valley a 5-0 advantage.
In the second inning John Bullen hit a double to score Garrett McMillan from second base to make it 6-0. Phillip Neal’s single to left field scored Bullen to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead.
Wilcox Academy got things going in the bottom of the second inning. Tate Brand hit a single to drive in two runs to make it 7-2.
Carson McGraw hit a single to score Haden Moore to make it 7-3. McGraw scored on error on the shortstop to cut the Rebels lead down to 7-4.
“They were a little flat and we came out and swung the bat. I think that had a lot to do with it,” Hughes said. “We just pitched well; when things got difficult we had to bear down and pitch. It all started with pitching.”
In the fourth inning the Rebels added a run to make it 8-4. Bullen scored on an error on the centerfielder on a fly ball by Floyd to deep center field.
Neal scored on a passed ball to give the Rebels a 9-4 lead in the fifth inning. Bullen delivered again in the fifth as he hit a single to shallow center field to bring in Kennedy to make it 10-4. After Bullen stole second and third base Neal hit a single to bring in Bullen to give the Rebels an 11-4 advantage. Neal scored on a passed ball to give the Rebels a 12-4 lead.
Wilcox Academy cut the lead down to 12-5 on a Tate Brand RBI single.
McMillan hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Ellison to make it 13-5.
Bullen was named the MVP of the tournament. The junior went 3-3 from the plate, with two RBIs and five stolen bases.
“He has been doing that all year,” Hughes said. “He has been stealing bases all year, I think he has 50-something stolen bases. I moved him to second base halfway through the season and I think that took some pressure of him. He hasn’t played baseball in two or three years and he just got better as the year went on.”
Senior Gage Holmes was on the 2007 championship team. He said this team played more as a team than the 2007 team.
“In 2007 they just had a few good ball players,” Holmes said. “This team, we actually played as a team this time. We didn’t have a dominant pitcher; we just hit the ball and that kept us in games.”
Kennedy pitched a complete game to get the win for the Rebels. The junior struck out six batters, gave up 13 hits and allowed three runs.
“It starts with pitching and our pitching carried us toward the end of the season,” Hughes said. “We swung the bats since we played Cornerstone. We lost to them 10-0 and we won 15 in a row. We have played well over the last 15 games and we have just come together at the right time.”
The Coosa Valley Rebels won the first game of a best-of-three series against Wilcox Academy 7-3.
Mims (6-0) went the distance for the Rebels. The junior struck out five, gave up nine hits, walked three and allowed three runs.
Wilcox Academy took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Will Chapman hit a two-run single to score Luke McNeece and Morgan Harper.
The Rebels responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning. Holmes hit a sacrifice fly to score Floyd to make it 2-1 Wilcox Academy.
Ricky Ellison hit a two-run single to make give CVA the advantage, 3-2.
In the third inning Wilcox Academy scored a run to tie the game up at 3-3. Morgan Harper led off the inning with a triple. Haden Moore drove Harper in with a two-out double down the third base line to make it 3-3.
In the bottom half of the frame the Rebels went up 4-3 on a McMillan sacrifice fly to score Mims.
Kennedy hit a two-out single to center field to score Mims and Ellison to give the Rebels a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Bullen scored on a passed ball in the sixth inning to give the Rebels a 7-3 lead.
“Jarrod Mims really stepped up,” Hughes said. “He pitched really well; he got stronger as the game went on. Toward the end of season he has been our number one pitcher. He has done a great job.
“He was worked hard to get where he is at. I think Daniel Kennedy stepped up with that big two-out hit with guys on base and I think that’s a big reason why we won. We played good defense. Zach Chain played good at short stop.”