Phil Campbell baseball falls in semifinals
The Phil Campbell Bobcats’ run to a state championship ended on a rain-soaked field in Gordo, Ala. The Green Wave eliminated the Bobcats in the final four with a two-game sweep, 10-4 and 11-1.
Gordo proved to be aggressive at the plate with 15 hits in game one and seven in game two. They put pressure on the Phil Campbell defense which uncharacteristically committed seven errors in the two games.
Gordo also took full advantage of their home field environment. One would have thought they had mistakenly stumbled upon an SEC game – or, better yet – a Green Bay Packers game. Fans adorned in green and gold with the unmistakable Packers logo adopted by the Green Wave, pickup trucks backed up to every square inch of the outfield fence, grills cooking up BBQ and hamburgers at every turn and a sound system that would rival any college baseball program.
Phil Campbell started game one in typical fashion, taking a two-run lead on a two-RBI single by Kyle Pace scoring Bryant Anthony and Cam Habada.
Gordo tied the game with runs in the bottom of the first and second inning. Phil Campbell reclaimed the lead in the top of the third inning when Kyle Pace roped a two-run home run to left field.
Things took a turn for the worse in the bottom of the third inning. Starting pitcher Cole Pace exited the game after giving up five runs on six hits. He was replaced by Hunter Baker who gave up three runs on three hits. Gordo took an 8-4 lead, then thunder started to roll, and rain poured, causing a one hour and a half delay.
After the delay, the Bobcats only scored one more run in the entire series.
This was Phil Campbell’s fourth straight trip to the Class 3A final four.
“It certainly didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” said Phil Campbell coach Jonathan Raper. “We played our worst baseball at the worst time against a very good team. Still, I am proud of this team. Not many teams can say they went to a Final Four. Many on this team were a part of four and a part of a state championship . There are a lot of seniors on this team, and I am proud of every single one of them.”
The Bobcats made the Final Four run despite losing their best hitter and pitcher from last year. Shortstop Mason Swinney, the Class 3A Hitter of the Year, signed with the University of Alabama. Cam Habada, the Class 3A Pitcher of the Year, was unable to pitch this year due to a shoulder injury. He played first base instead.