Longhorns sweep Northside in quarterfinals

(photo by Collin Sheffield) Hayden Hall strokes a homer in the first inning of game one.

(photo by Collin Sheffield)
Hayden Hall strokes a homer in the first inning of game one.

LINDEN — Marengo Academy (24-4-1) dispatched of Northside Methodist in the quarterfinal round of the AISA baseball playoffs Thursday.

Kyle Friday (7-0) tossed a two-hit, complete game shutout in the first half of the double-header, leading his team to a 7-0 win.

“He just came out like he always does, totally focused,” Marengo Academy coach Steve King said of Friday’s performance. “Lots of guts and determination and he has got some talent to go along with that. He wants to win this thing and he showed that today.”

“Fastball was mainly working. My curveball was helping, but it was mostly just throwing strikes,” Friday said of his success.

Friday struck out 10 batters, issued no walks and allowed only a pair of singles in the win.

The Wallace State signee got his run support early and often in the contest as the Longhorns got back-to-back homeruns from Hayden Huckabee and Hayden Hall in the first inning.

“I thought the back-to-back homeruns to start off helped out and then, of course, we kept adding to that,” King said.

(Photo by Collin Sheffield) David Dunn rips a basehit.

(Photo by Collin Sheffield)
David Dunn rips a basehit.

Andrew Martin later scored on an error to make it 3-0 after one inning. Hall scored again in the second on a bases-loaded walk by Carson Huckabee. Robert Tutt scored in the third on a Daniel Pritchett double. Martin found his way home in the fourth on a trio of throwing errors to make it 6-0. Josh Holifield stroked a solo homer to cap the scoring.

Marengo chased Northside starter Caleb Chandler after only two innings of work.

A similar fate befell game two starter Brantley Peters, who lasted only an inning and a third against the Marengo lineup. Friday belted a two-run shot with Hall aboard in the first to stake Marengo to a 2-0 lead.

Landon Pilcher answered with a solo shot for Northside in the bottom of the first before Marengo embarked on a nine-run inning to put the game effectively out of reach.

Marengo Academy honored 2015 Seniors (left to right) Josh Holifield, Ryder Baugh, Kyle Friday, Hayden Hall, Carson Huckabee, Wallace Tutt.

Marengo Academy honored 2015 Seniors (left to right) Josh Holifield, Ryder Baugh, Kyle Friday, Hayden Hall, Carson Huckabee, Wallace Tutt. (Photo by Collin Sheffield)

Pritchett scored on a Holifield double. Gavin Tate scored on a Wallace Tutt double. Huckabee and Hall scored on a David Dunn double. Friday and Martin scored on a Carson Huckabee double. Weldon Aydelott then hit a two-run homer to plate himself and Carson Huckabee. Pritchett bookended the scoring in the frame when he scored from first base on a dropped third strike.

“We might’ve let up,” King said of the way his team changed its offensive approach in the middle innings of the game. “I’m not into running scores up. We weren’t stealing. We weren’t bunting. And it might’ve rubbed off on the team. We got to where I had to open it up again and they responded.”

Clay McCall doubled home Hunter Mercer in the second as Northside cut it to 11-2 before the Knights found the longball in the third inning. Tyson Holder hit a homer in the third with Pilcher aboard. Tate Thompson then made it a back-to-back job with a solo shot.

(Photo by Collin Sheffield) Weldon Aydelott reaches for a hit.

(Photo by Collin Sheffield)
Weldon Aydelott reaches for a hit.

“Give them credit,” King said. “They stuck with it and kept fighting when they could’ve gone on back to Dothan.”

The Longhorns found the scoreboard again in the fourth when Tate scored on a Hayden Huckabee single to make it 12-5. Aydelott doubled home Friday and Martin in the fifth before Holified doubled to drive in Aydelott and punctuate the scoring.

Marengo moves on to the semifinals where it awaits the winner of South Choctaw Academy and the Edgewood team to which it lost in the championship round last season.

“It’s different,” Friday said, contrasting the 2015 Longhorns with their 2014 predecessor. “We’re hitting the ball a lot better than we were last year at this time.”

Marengo is set to host the semifinal round at Scott Park in Linden Wednesday at 1 p.m.