Hawks sweep their way into quarterfinals
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
For the past three seasons, Danville advanced to the playoffs only to go one-and-out. Now that they're in the quarterfinals, the Hawks want the ride to last as long as it can.
Danville pulled off a sweep on the road at Holly Pond Friday, winning the opener by a score of 13-10 and following that up with a 5-4 victory to eliminate the Broncos in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
In Game 1, Roger Smith started the game for Danville and ran into trouble early, falling behind 6-2. But the Hawks' bats rallied to move back in front and Smith pitched well the rest of the way, scattering six hits in six innings of work and striking out four. Jacob Young pitched the seventh to earn the save.
"Roger really pitched well," Danville coach Jay Stanley said. "He settled down after a shaky start and really gave us a chance to win. Holly Pond gave us a few walks and we were able to get some hits and capitalize on that. Jacob got saves in both of our games and pitched well for us."
Danville's bats were red-hot in Game 1, as the Hawks managed a total of 18 hits. Jake Mahathy had four hits, including a double, three stolen bases and two RBIs. Dakota Wilson also had four hits, including a double, two RBIs, two runs and two stolen bases.
Parker Hogan finished with two triples and scored three runs; Bryan Rogers hit a double and had two RBIs and Smith doubled and had an RBI. Randy Thomason had three singles, Cole Veazey singled and tripled and Zac Ward singled and had two RBIs.
The bats cooled down a little in Game 2 but Danville got strong pitching performances from Hogan, who struck out two and allowed two hits through four innings, and Young, who pitched the final three innings.
Thomason's RBI single scored the winning run for Danville. Hogan had two singles and a triple and scored two runs; Wilson had a single, double, RBI and scored two runs; Mahathy had a single and an RBI and Smith had a single and two RBIs.
Next up for the Hawks is a trip to Hokes Bluff, a team that is considered the dominant state power in Class 3A. The Eagles have won four straight state championships and swept Colbert Heights 20-0, 2-1 (in 10 innings) in their second round series.
"We're going to be playing one of the best teams in the state, regardless of classification," Stanley said of Hokes Bluff, which features wins this season over Class 6A playoff team Gadsden City and Class 5A playoff team Southside-Gadsden. "It will be a great experience for this young team to travel down there and just soak up the atmosphere. Hopefully we can keep this thing going as long as we can."
Hokes Bluff is headlined by junior ace pitcher Tyler Stovall, who made the Class 3A All-State team in 2006. The lefthander Stovall has seen his fastball clocked in the low 90s and already has a full scholarship offer from the University of Alabama.
"He's one of the better pitchers in the state," Stanley said. "You really can't prepare for something like that in practice. I don't think my guys have seen a guy all season who throws in the 90s. We're just going to have to try and put the ball in play and make some things happen."