West seeking 10th state crown
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
May 10, 2001
The Class 3A state championship baseball series between West Lauderdale and Independence will be one of contrasts.
The Knights have won state championships eight of the last 12 years.
Independence fourth-year head coach Greg Patterson still has to explain to his team how the playoff system works.
Don't think Patterson's team can't play the game though.
Leading the 27-10 Wildcats is pitcher/shortstop Brett Cleveland. The Mississippi State signee is batting .475 with 11 homers. He's also the top pitcher on the team with a 9-3 mark. In a 3-2 10-inning playoff win over Saltillo, he struck out 19.
Other top Wildcat batters are catcher Jeffrey Ferrell (.411, 3 HR), third baseman Ryne Shackleford (.380), pitcher/second baseman Paul Fowler (.350), and second baseman/shortstop Jordan Treadway (.350). Other top players are Bruce Crockett, T.J. Douglas, and Adam Sowell.
Fowler is 6-3 on the mound and got both wins in the 3A North State championship series with Ripley. Douglas is 3-1. All three pitchers are right-handers.
Ferrell was the hero in Monday's 7-1 win over Ripley in the decisive third game of that series. He followed three walks with a first inning grand slam to stake the Wildcats to a lead they would not relinquish. Fowler struck out 13 and allowed only four hits.
Independence has had its share of competition throughout the playoffs as the Wildcats needed three games in each of their previous three series.
Independence defeated Caledonia (9-1, 1-2, 6-0), Saltillo (1-0, 7-9, 3-2), and Ripley (0-3, 9-4, 7-1) to reach the final round.
West, 34-4, had it easy for two rounds, whipping Purvis (10-0, 10-2) and North Pike (10-0, 15-1) before running into a tough Greene County squad (6-5, 1-2, 4-0).
Leading the Knights are center fielder Brad McKee (.449, 9 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 38 RBI), right fielder Van Wilson (.425, 7 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 30 RBI), pitcher Todd Doolittle (.389, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 27 RBI), second baseman Josh Snider (.377, 12 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 27 RBI), third baseman/pitcher Ryan Clay (.344, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI), first baseman Richie McAllister (.337, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI), shortstop Trent Posey (.320, 8 2B, 2 HR, 24 RBI), catcher Miles Joyner (.305, 3 2B, 11 RBI), designated hitter Bo Davis (.250, 7 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI), and utility defensive player C.J. Fountain.
Doolittle is 12-0 on the mound with a 1.30 ERA. In 72 innings, he's struck out 135 while walking only 19.
Clay is 8-3 with a 2.50 ERA. In 49 innings, he's walked just eight while striking out 42.
Doolittle turned in a complete game in Monday's series clincher with Greene County.
Other West pitchers are Posey (5-1, 2.05 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 35 innings) and McKee (1-0, 2.56 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 33 innings.
Game 1 is set for tonight at 6 p.m. at Independence with Game 2 on tap for 6 p.m. Saturday at Collinsville. A third game, if needed, would be at 6 p.m. Monday at Independence.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.