For the first time since 2014, the Benjamin Russell baseball team was represented in the AHSAA and the Wildcat made sure he left his mark on the game.
Brett Pitts reached base five times and led the South team with four runs scored before closing things out on the mound with three strikeouts to clinch a sweep of the doubleheader against the North at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery on Tuesday. Pitts was named the South’s Most Valuable Player.
“That really means a lot to me,” Pitts said. “It was a great experience. There’s a lot of good competition here so it’s good to see and show yourself where you stand.”
Tuesday night’s games were not your typical all-star games as the two teams combined for a record 57 runs across the two games. Pitts contributed seven of those runs on his own as the South cut into the North’s lead in the all-time series.
In the opening game, Pitts started at third base and was hitting second in the batting lineup for the South. He struck out looking in his first plate appearance of the day but things only went up from there.
In the top of the fourth inning, Pitts had an RBI single to right field, scoring Wetumpka’s Seth Johnson to put the South ahead 4-3. The South did not give up the lead for the remainder of the game and Pitts added another RBI in the sixth inning before the game wrapped up with the South winning 16-7.
“Being out here definitely made me better,” Pitts said. “Seeing all the good competition and making new friends, I really enjoyed all of it.”
Pitts moved to catcher for two innings before returning to third in the seventh inning of game one. He finished the day with four innings at catcher and Pitts said all of the moving around made things more difficult.
“It made things a little bit tougher,” Pitts said. “It’s so hot back there but you just have to push through it and keep fighting. I didn’t catch as good as I wanted to but I feel like I did pretty good still.”
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning of Game 2, Pitts singled to lead off the second inning for the South. He came around to score on a single by Cole McWhorter of Charles Henderson, sparking a six-run inning to give the South the lead.
The North responded with an eight-run inning in the fourth to retake the lead but the South did not waste any time before chipping away at the lead. Pitts was hit by a pitch for the second time of the day before he stole second base and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch to cut the North’s lead to 10-9 after four innings.
“I was expecting the pitching to be pretty good but I knew everyone could hit good too,” Pitts said. “I liked it. It was a long two games but it was fun.”
The high-scoring theme continued for the rest of the second game and Pitts came up with the biggest hit of the day in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the North leading 14-13, Pitts entered the batter’s box with the bases loaded and he came through with a single up the middle, allowing two runs to score to give the South the lead.
“I just knew we needed to score two runs,” Pitts said. “I needed to get a hit for my team. I knew I was playing pretty good so that always feels good because it doesn’t happen all of the time. Slumps happen and I’ve been going through one all summer so it feels good to have two good games.”
The South added three more runs in the inning and then the team turned to Pitts to take over on the mound. Things did not get off to a great start after a walk was followed by the day’s only home run as the South’s lead was cut to two runs with no outs in the seventh. However, Pitts responded with three consecutive strikeouts to end the game and give the South an 18-16 victory.
“It meant a lot to me,” Pitts said. “I had no idea I was going to be pitching. After giving up the homer, I was thinking, ‘What am I doing out here?’ I just had to settle down and throw strikes.”