Pitching propels Demopolis to first round playoff sweep

4-22-2016 - Demopolis, Ala. - On an extremely close play, Wesley Holemon was safe at the plate on this play against Alabama Christian Academy to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead in game one.

4-22-2016 – Demopolis, Ala. – On an extremely close play, Wesley Holemon was safe at the plate on this play against Alabama Christian Academy to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead in game one.

Demopolis (16-8) used a pair of masterful pitching performances to sweep Alabama Christian in a first round Class 5A playoff series Friday evening, taking the opener 6-1 and completing the night with a 1-0 victory.

“That’s what I like. That’s just the bottom line. I like that quality start pitching and I like them to go. But a 1-0 game, you don’t see those anymore. I’ve always felt like I could manage 1-0, 2-1 games. I have a hard time managing the 10-8 games. That’s kind of how the game was when I came along. It was low scoring,” Demopolis coach James Moody said. “Unbelievable starting pitching tonight; three hits in 14 innings. What can you say?”

4-22-2016 - Demopolis, Ala. - Hunter Colyar fires a pitch to the plate against Alabama Christian Academy.

4-22-2016 – Demopolis, Ala. – Hunter Colyar fires a pitch to the plate against Alabama Christian Academy.

Demopolis 6, Alabama Christian 1

Hunter Colyar toed the rubber for the Tigers in the first game of the set, striking out three batters and allowing two hits over seven innings of work. Colyar carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Grayson Blackwell stroked a leadoff double. Mario Galloway followed with a double of his own to plate Alabama Christian’s only run of the contest and cut its deficit to 3-1.

“It was a quality start. He threw the ball up there and let them hit the ball on the ground. I thought he was down most of the day,” Moody said of Colyar’s work on the mound. “He struggled in the middle with his breaking ball but made some adjustments on it and was good enough to recover and find it later and give himself a chance to finish the ball game.”

Demopolis answered in the bottom half of the sixth when Luke Yelverton singled and gave way to sophomore pinch runner Andrew Patterson. R.J. Cox singled in Patterson for the 4-1 lead. Jacob Rodrigues then doubled in Jamarcus Ezell and Chandler Barton to make it a 6-1 Tiger lead.

“I think our young kids are making a difference for us. At any given time, we’ve got three sophomores out there and we’re pinch running some sophomores. Everybody is contributing,” Moody said.

Demopolis opened the scoring with a three-run third inning. Jamarcus Ezell led off with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Barton. Demetrius Davis, who stole two bases in the contest, singled and scored on a base hit by Colyar. Rodrigues singled to drive in Wesley Holemon, who came on to run for Colyar.

4-22-2016 - Demopolis, Ala. - R.J. Cox sends a pitch to the outfield against Alabama Christian Academy.

4-22-2016 – Demopolis, Ala. – R.J. Cox sends a pitch to the outfield against Alabama Christian Academy.

“We swung the bats well. We did. We were ready to play and when we’re ready to play, we’ve got a chance. They’re not bad. When we’re focused, we’ve got a chance to do some good things,” Moody said following the win. “I’m really proud of them. That first one is always a big one.”

Demopolis 1, Alabama Christian 0

Spring Hill signee Yelverton took the mound in game two and wasted little time finding his rhythm. Yelverton struck out five of the first nine batters he faced en route to a memorable one-hit shutout. Yelverton fanned nine on the night while walking two, giving up a single to Galloway in the fourth or the only base hit of the game.

“He just got in a rhythm,” Moody said. “He was around the zone. He probably threw 93 percent fastballs tonight. I’d have to check it out, but I think he probably threw about 10 sliders. Just command of the zone.”

Galloway countered on the mound for ACA and was impressive in his own right, scattering seven hits and holding Demopolis to a single run.

“I thought the Galloway kid did a great job tonight,” Moody said. “I saw him pitch last week and he was very good last week too.”

The Tigers scored the game winner in the top of the sixth when Wesley Allgood walked to open the frame before Holemon came on to pinch run. Yelverton capped off a 3-for-3 game and put himself in line for the victory when he laced a ball down the right field line for a double to plate Holemon.

The run proved to be enough as Yelverton retired the last 11 batters he faced to close the series.

4-22-2016 - Demopolis, Ala. - Luke Yelverton pins the ball on a putout against Alabama Christian Academy.

4-22-2016 – Demopolis, Ala. – Luke Yelverton pins the ball on a putout against Alabama Christian Academy. Yelverton pitched game two, allowing one hit and striking out nine in a complete game shutout. He also went 3-for-3 from that plate in that contest and drove in the game’s only run.

“It’s one run and anything can happen. But I felt comfortable with the way Luke was throwing the baseball. I really did,” Moody said. “I thought the sixth inning was big when we got 1-2-3 in order because I think their top few make them go. I felt a lot better after we did that. In these kind of games, one run is one run and it can when it, especially if you’re solid on the mound.”

The sweep moves Demopolis to a rematch of last year’s second round series against Marbury.

“I think we will be better prepared because of last year. I just think it is the approach of we’re back where we want to be,” Moody said before referencing a motivational flier that was placed on the inside of the Tigers’ clubhouse door that makes reference to the one-sided sweep they suffered at Marbury in the second round a year ago. “There’s something that has been stuck on our door all year that somebody put on there and we still don’t know who put it on there. And our kids see it every day when they come out. I couldn’t tell you who put it on there. The kids don’t know. I don’t know. But I’m excited that we have another week to play and practice.”

4-22-2016 - Demopolis, Ala. - Demetrius Davis gets a base hit against Alabama Christian Academy.

4-22-2016 – Demopolis, Ala. – Demetrius Davis gets a base hit against Alabama Christian Academy.