H.A. Rebs roll over Rams
PICK OFF ATTEMPT n Heidelberg Academy pitcher Matt Culberson makes the throw to first base for an out in the Rebels first round win over their rival Kemper Academy Rams in Tuesday's first game of the second round series in Dekalb. Games Two and Three, if necessary, will be played in Heidelberg Thursday. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
May 2, 2001
DEKALB Hits were precious and few in the first game of the best-of-three series between Heidelberg Academy and Kemper Academy in the second round of the Mississippi Private School Association's Academy A state baseball playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
Heidleberg won the contest 5-1.
Heidelberg's Matt Culberson and Kemper's Bo Harper both had good outings on the mound. Culberson (7-1) struck out eight and walked two in a three-hit complete-game effort.
Harper allowed only two hits in his six innings, but was haunted by six walks. He struck out two and picked off a pair of Rebel baserunners.
The Rebels got their third hit of the game off reliever Wade Whitaker in the top of the seventh.
With hits being at a premium, every at-bat was crucial.
After a scoreless first three innings, Heidelberg turned two walks and a home run into three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Heath Ainsworth led off with a walk and Scott McInnis launched a two-run homer to center field to put the Rebels up 2-0.
The Rebels manufactured a third run before the inning was over. Derek McKee drew a walk, stole second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a well-executed squeeze by Ryan Aultman.
Kemper, which stranded four runners over the first two frames and just one more the rest of the game, got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Ty Harbour reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, and scored on Dereck Calvert's two-out single to right field.
Heidelberg, 16-4, got two insurance runs in the sixth. Ainsworth led off with a walk and moved up when McInnis' fly ball to right field was dropped for a two-base error. McKee drove in Ainsworth with a ground out and McInnis scored on a perfectly executed squeeze by Culberson.
The Rebels, who extended their win streak to 13, got their leadoff batter on base in five of the seven innings. Kemper was 0-for-7 in that department.
McInnis, Aultman, and J.R. Stephenson each had one hit for the Rebels.
Calvert went 2-for-3 to lead Kemper, 12-7. Harper had an infield single for the Rams' only other hit.
Case in point, the Rams trailed University Christian by five runs heading into the final inning Friday at Flowood before winning 14-12.
Both teams committed just one error Tuesday and both turned in several outstanding defensive plays. Defensive gems included a running catch by Whitaker in center field to rob McInnis of extra bases in the first inning; a diving stop and throw to first in time for an out by McInnis at third base in the third inning; and a play by Harbour at shortstop in the fourth inning to get Culberson at first base.
The series resumes Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Heidelberg with Game 2. A third game, if needed, would also be played on Thursday at Heidelberg.
The Heidelberg-Kemper series winner will get the winner of the Rossville (Tenn.)-DeSoto (Ark.) series in the Academy A state semifinals.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.