North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

April 12, 2013

Baseball: Fultondale 15, Victory Christian-Pell City 3 (5 innings)

Wildcats lock up playoff spot

By Erik Harris
North Jefferson News

FULTONDALE — Victory Christian-Pell City traveled to Fultondale for a Class 2A Area 10 matchup, but their was no victory to be had for the Lions on Friday as they quietly fell to the Wildcats 15-3 in five innings.

The slaughter bumped the Wildcats into second place behind Vincent in the final area standings, which makes Coach Mike Gillespie’s squad playoff bound. They captured the second spot on a tiebreaker with Altamont, which was tied with the Cats with three area losses each.

With a postseason birth on the line, Fultondale was amped from the start and took it out on Victory with a six-run first inning. The Lions could never work their way back into striking distance after the hot start. In fact, six runs was as close as it would get.

The Wildcats took no pity on their already-beaten challengers in the second inning, when they piled on seven more runs to post a 13-0 advantage.

Gillespie gave credit to former player and current assistant coach Chase Burch for the big offensive output.

“We’re lucky enough to have [Burch], who is a professional hitter, come back and help us just out of the goodness of his heart,” said Gillespie.

Burch played for Gillespie and posted a .681 batting average in ’04, which is recognized as one of the most productive seasons at the plate in AHSAA history.

Despite the intimidating circumstance of facing a Burch-taught lineup, the Lions picked their self up off the floor by getting two runners aboard in the third with only one out. Two swings sent three runners across for Victory, and cut the deficit to 10. But that was the only bite they could muster against the Wildcats.

Nate Freeman reached on an error to start the third and found his way to third base with no out. Kris Lewis delivered some insurance with a deep sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Freeman.

“We’ve won three of the last four and the one we lost, we got away from the things [Coach Burch has been preaching],” said Gillespie.

The Wildcats will wrap up regular season play with a doubleheader Saturday at Leeds, before traveling to Randolph County for the first-round of the state playoffs.