• 55°

Generals advance to Final Four

At approximately 5:30 pm Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service placed Marengo County under a tornado warning. Meanwhile, the Demopolis Academy Generals had their own version of a "tornado warning,’ complements of the Greenville Academy Tornadoes.

As warning sirens sounded throughout the county for the apparent twister, the Tornadoes were ripping through the Generals, opening up to a 5-1 lead during the fourth inning of Game 1.

As the real storm passed to the west, the skies cleared, the temperature cooled, and the DA began to tame the pesky team from Greenville.

As night began to fall, the Generals secured a sweep of the best-of-three series against Greenville Academy and earned a spot in the AISA Final Four baseball tournament.

The double-elimination tournament to decide the 1A 2003 State Champion will be played Friday and Saturday. Game times are yet to be determined.

WZNJ 106.5 FM will carry the games live from Selma’s Bloch Park.

Game One:

Generals 6, Tornadoes 5

After falling behind by four runs in the fourth inning, the Generals scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, setting the stage for a dramatic ending to the series opener.

With the game tied 5-5 to begin the bottom of the seventh inning, Brooks Phillips started things off with a solid single to left field.

Chad Seale’s unsuccessful bunt attempt caused the first out, but Michael Bozeman and Joe Magro loaded the bases with a walk and a looping base hit.

Following a fly out by Cody Key, the Generals placed the game into the hands of DH Jacob Reeves.

Greenville’s pitcher Josh Burt quickly got ahead in the count, throwing two fastballs by Reeves. Reeves then battled back, watching balls just out of the strike zone and fouling off pitches that were closer.

Suddenly, Reeves and Burt had battled to a 3-2 count, two outs, bases loaded, game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning of a playoff game.

Where’s the Mighty Casey?

Burt peered in, came set and delivered the pitch.

“BALL FOUR.”

The inside pitch set off a celebration in the Generals dugout as Reeves trotted to first and Phillips trotted home to score the winning run.

Kevin May earned the victory on the mound, pitching all seven innings.

The five runs he allowed came on six hits and seven bases on balls, while also recording eight strikeouts.

Magro led the Generals offensively by going four-for-four including a triple, two RBI and two runs scored.

Bozeman, Andy Lowe and Shane Hilchey had two hits each for DA.

Game Two:

Generals 4 , Tornadoes 1

A run in the second inning and three more in the fourth inning was more than enough offensive support for Shane Hilchey.

Hilchey loomed like a titan over the out-manned Greenville hitters, pitching the full seven innings without allowing a hit by the Tornadoes.

The lone Greenville run, scored during the seventh inning, was allowed primarily due to defensive indifference.

His performance gives Reynolds options going into next week’s championship showdown.

The Tornadoes answered with solid pitching of their own.

David Moore pitched all six innings and only allowed three DA hits while striking out seven.

Errors in the fourth inning, however, became their undoing.

With two outs, Hilchey began the rally with one of his two hits in the game.

Kevin May followed with a strikeout, but a past ball and errant throw on the third strike by the Tornado catcher allowed May to reach first base.

Brooks Phillips popped the ball high into the left field sky, and the left fielder was unable to secure the out, allowing two runs to score.

Chad Seale, who scored the lone run during the second inning, popped a fly that proved difficult for the right fielder to handle.

The third consecutive error by the Tornadoes gave DA its third run of the inning, and all the punch it needed to deliver the knockout.