Firmly in the driver’s seatPublished 11:53am Thursday, April 3, 2014
DHS now atop area standings
The Dadeville Tigers continued to take care of business where it mattered most.
After downing the Class 4A, No. 10 Beauregard Hornets 7-3, DHS (14-14) improved to 6-1 in the area and now has the area title in its sights.
“We’ve played well in the area, even in the one game we lost (versus Handley),” DHS coach Randy Nolen said. “We’re in the driver’s seat right now.”
After striking first in the bottom of the first, Dadeville looked poised to put its foot on Beauregard’s throat thanks to a big second inning.
After Logan Duck got on base, Kidwell hit a double to set the stage for the Tigers.
Landon Wilson immediately cashed in for Dadeville, delivering an RBI single to score Duck.
Jack Stephenson followed with a two-run single, and after a passed ball allowed Stephenson and Wilson to move to second and third base, respectively, Mark Turner brought them home with a two-run single.
With a 6-0 lead, Dadeville’s Trevor McKinley set out to keep Beauregard out of contention.
The Hornets broke through a little bit in the top of the fourth inning, when McKinley walked BHS’ Walker Meadows. Meadows got to second on a balk, and advanced to third on a passed ball.
An RBI single from Austin Mitchell put the Hornets on the board. Beauregard tacked on two more runs to cut the deficit in half.
“I tell Trevor all the time that he’s his own worst enemy,” Nolen said. “It’s one of those things that when he’s in the moment, you can’t go play it for him and we have to live and die with it.”
McKinley eventually settled back down, as the southpaw virtually retired the remaining Beauregard batters in order , while the Dadeville defense was all over the field for the Tigers.
Stephenson made a game-high eight putouts, including a diving grab that robbed the Hornets of potential runs.
Landon Wilson also made a diving stop which led to a double play that all but snuffed out a potential Beauregard rally.
“(Stephenson) was hawking and tracking the whole time. And that play Landon made there in the last inning, holy cow,” Nolen said. “They play with a lot of confidence at times, and confidence is a big deal, whether it’s offensively, defensively or pitching. But overall we’re playing pretty good. Now we have to keep it going.”
Stephenson ended the day with three RBIs. McKinley struck out three during his complete-game victory.
While the Tigers are entrenched at the summit of the Class 4A, Area 5 standings right now, they could still be knocked from their perch if they falter today in a doubleheader against the Hornets.
If Beauregard wins out in its area slate, it will claim the area title and host in the first round of the playoffs.
Dadeville must win one of the next two games at Beauregard to seal the area.
“They’ve only got two losses in the area, and we’ve got one,” Nolen said. “If they beat us twice at their place, then turn around and sweep Handley, we’ll still go to the playoffs but we’ll have to travel in the first round. We’d like to be at home in the first round. All we have to do is go out and play, and see what happens.”
Game one of the doubleheader between the Tigers and Hornets is set to start at 4 p.m.