Rebels open up finals with resounding victory
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
May 10, 2001
HEIDELBERG Heidelberg Academy used three-run homers from Scott McInnis and Matt Culberson and Culberson's solid pitching to take a 9-4 win over Rossville (Tenn.) Christian Academy in Game 1 of their Mississippi Private School Association Class A state semifinal best-of-three series.
The series resumes for Games 2 and 3, if needed, Friday at Rossville with a 2 p.m. start. That series winner will face the Porter's Chapel-Huntington (La.) winner for the Academy Class A championship next week. Porter's Chapel has a 1-0 advantage in that series following Tuesday's 6-4 victory at PCA.
Rossville, 19-12, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Brad Little led off with a single and scored when Chris Anderson ripped a high two-out pitch over the fence in the right-field corner of Mitch Gavin Memorial Field.
Heidelberg grabbed the lead with four runs off just one hit in the bottom of the third.
Freshman catcher Brooks Lewis and freshman first baseman Matthew Andrews drew walks to open the inning. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch with courtesy runner J.R. Stephenson scoring when Rossville catcher Mark Lowry's throw to third base sailed into left field.
Heath Ainsworth kept the inning alive with a two-out walk and McInnis followed with a towering three-run homer to right field.
Rossville drew even at 4-4 with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Lowry reached on an error by Ainsworth at shortstop with singles by Matt Napier and Anderson loading the bases with no outs. One run scored when Lewis' attempt at a pickoff at first base sailed into right field. The tying run scored on a 6-3-5 (Ainsworth to Andrews to McInnis) double play, but the inning could have been much bigger for the visitors.
The host Rebels used a little trickery to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fourth. After a leadoff walk to Culberson, Lewis also drew a walk with Andrews following with a single to the center-field fence. One runner was thrown out at the plate with the Rebels ending the play with runners at first and third.
Andrews intentionally got into a rundown between first and second with Rossville reliever Little (2-1) forgetting about the runner at third. Andrews stayed in the rundown long enough for the courtesy runner to score to put Heidelberg up 5-4.
The host Rebels put the game away with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman second baseman Brent Welch reached on an error and Ainsworth drew a one-out walk. Derek McKee singled to temporarily load the bases. A wild pitch scored Welch to give Heidelberg a 6-4 lead and a three-run blast by Culberson to left field was the icing on the cake.
He attributed that to the excitement of the game.
Heidelberg finished with only five hits, but also received seven walks. Culberson was the only multiple hitter for the home team as he went 2-for-3.
Culberson allowed only five hits in upping his record to 8-0 with a complete game performance.
Over the final three innings, the right-hander allowed only one baserunner on a sixth-inning walk. He also got five of his six strikeouts over the final three frames as the Rebels won their 15th game in a row and improved to 18-4.
Anderson went 2-for-3 to lead Rossville.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.