A five-run fourth inning supported Gardendale on Tuesday night in a 2019 playoff rematch.
Rockets’ junior Will Nesmith carried a no-hitter into the fifth, his offense produced six hits and as many RBIs, and the home team notched a 7-2 win over Pinson Valley on a soggy field in Gardendale.
In head coach Ryan Keedy’s first season with the team, Gardendale swept the Indians in their 2019 postseason opener.
On Tuesday, the Rockets jumped out front early thanks to a leadoff walk from Isaac Sims and a hard line drive up the middle from David Harris. Gardendale went to the second with a 1-0 advantage.
After two quiet innings, the Rockets poured five runs across in the fourth. Left fielder Cade Jay started the surge with a run-scoring slap into left-center. His one-out, two-run double pushed the lead to 3-0 and chased Pinson Valley starter Sharode Pickett.
The righty was replaced by Douglas Tews, who saw three more Gardendale runs score in the crucial fourth inning. One came in on a throwing error that was quickly followed by RBI doubles from Carson Cook and Colby Tittle.
Cook lifted a his double into right for a 5-0 lead and Tittle burned one over the left fielder’s head for a 6-0 cushion.
Pinson Valley made some noise in the top of the fifth when Christopher Calma connected with a two-out double that cut the deficit to 6-2 and broke up Nesmith’s no-no. The junior went 4 2/3 innings with one hit allowed, two runs, five walks and five strikeouts.
Tittle came out of the bullpen and covered the remaining 2 1/3 innings with no runs allowed and four strikeouts. He struck out the side in the top of the sixth and chopped into a run-scoring groundout in the home-half for the final run of the night.
For the Rockets, Cook finished with two hits, including an RBI double in the fourth. Jay and Tittle both drove home two runs in the win.