Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Madison County High School (MCHS) varsity baseball team has had quite a season, full of ups and downs. When it has seemed to matter the most, the Cowboys have managed to come through. One would have expected no less, when the Cowboys met up with old district rival and defending State Champion Lafayette High School from Mayo, on Tuesday, May 16 at home. The large crowd gathered to cheer on the Cowboys were not disappointed. Those who were at the game were treated to as good a baseball game as any that has been played on that field in many years. The Cowboys won their first-ever Class 1A Region Championship in dramatic fashion as they defeated Lafayette with a 3-2 final score.
After a scoreless first inning, Lafayette went ahead 1-0 in the second inning. Then, in the bottom of the third inning, “Mr. Clutch” Kris Allen blasted his third homer of the season, this time a two-run home run, on a full pitch count, over the left field fence. This gave the Cowboys a 2-1 lead. Lafayette tied the score at two in the top of the fifth. The score was tied going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The bottom of the seventh inning started off with lead-off batter Jae Mitchell hitting a double to center field. Then-with the winning run in scoring position on second base-Logan Lepper hit a bunt, advancing Mitchell to third. Lepper managed to make it safely to first base. With runners on the corners and no outs, Lafayette decided to intentionally walk the next Cowboy batter, Drew Annett. Then, with the bases loaded, DT Thompkins came up to the plate and was hit by a pitch from the Lafayette pitcher, forcing Mitchell across the plate for the winning run.
Allen went one-for-three at the plate with 2 RBIs, courtesy of his third inning home run. Trey Mitchell and Jae Mitchell also had hits for the Cowboys. Drew Herring and Trey Mitchell had a respectable game on the mound, giving up eight hits and two earned runs and chalking up four strike-outs between the two of them.
MCHS Head Coach Terry Barrs was especially proud of the play from the Cowboys. “It's exciting. I'm very proud of these kids. This is the first time [MCHS] has been this far in the playoffs. All year long, even back in the fall, these kids have worked very hard in the weight room and with training,” said Coach Barrs. “They have been very resilient this year. Pitching sort of carried us earlier in the season, but now our hitting has improved and is getting in line. We seem to be peaking at just the right time.”
“I am so proud of this group. They won a State Championship in Babe Ruth Little League (first Madison team to do that), now they follow that up towards the end of their Madison baseball careers with this accomplishment. Proud keeps coming to mind, but love is a more appropriate word. I just love them and the passion they have for each other on the field. Amazing crowd last night, I'd say close to 400 people, standing room only to watch our guys win. They deserved it, worked their tails off all year and never gave up,” said Assistant Coach Brian Annett.
The Cowboys will now face a tough South Walton team from Santa Rosa Beach, Fl. in the State Semi-final game. “They're a very strong team,” said Barrs. The game is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24 at 1 p.m. in Ft. Myers. The game can be seen streaming live at www.nfhsnetwork.com.