Longhorns maul Autauga, return to state finals

Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2011

LINDEN — Marengo Academy jumped on Autauga Academy early and scarcely let up en route to a 13-2, 18-6 sweep in the semi-finals of the AISA Class AA state playoffs.

The Generals struck first in the opening game when O.J. Howard doubled to leadoff the contest before coming around to score on an RBI single by Travis Jean.

Marengo wasted little time forming its response as Matt Etheridge doubled to start a five-run rally. He moved to third on a Rabe Hale sacrifice bunt before Chris Sammons singled to tie the game. A Mason Rogers single and a Trevor Johnson walk then set up a Matt Wallace grand slam to put Marengo up 5-1.

Email newsletter signup

For the second time in as many innings, the Longhorns sent nine batters to the plate in the second when Etheridge started the inning with a solo home run, prompting a pitching change for Autauga.

Two batters later, Sammons doubled in Hale to push the lead to 7-1. Trevor Johnson then singled home courtesy runner Wyatt Hale and Rogers to up the advantage to 9-1.

The Longhorns added one run in the third when Rogers hit a sacrifice fly to plate Etheridge. Marengo did the remainder of its damage in the fourth inning when Rabe Hale doubled home Kevin Pritchett. Sammons then stroked a two-run double to plate Etheridge and Hale.

Wallace surrendered a solo home run to Jean in the fourth to account for the Generals’ second run. The senior hurler struck out six batters and allowed only six hits over five innings for the win.

The second contest saw the fireworks continue as Johnson singled in Etheridge and Wyatt Hale in the first inning before Wallace drove in Rogers with a single for a quick 3-0 lead.

The Longhorns proceeded to plate seven runs in a second inning that saw three Autauga Academy errors and 11 Marengo batters step to the plate.

Sammons ignited the fireworks in the third with a one-out triple. Run-producing singles from Rogers, Wallace and Pritchett led to three Marengo runs in the inning, driving the MA lead to 13-1.

Marengo added one in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Sammons, the first of the year for 2010 AISA All-State catcher. Marengo erupted for four more runs in the fourth inning, the big blow coming on a two-RBI single by Rogers.

The Longhorns scored 31 runs on 30 hits over nine innings of work for the pair of blowout wins.

Autauga got a solo home run from Stuart Dawson in the second inning before Howard and Zach Sigman hit a pair of two-run shots in the home half of the fifth. The last run of the game came when Dawson scored on a plunking of Matt Litaker.

Etheridge went 5-for-7 with an RBI, a double, a home run and seven runs scored. Hale went 3-for-7 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Sammons went 6-for-7 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBIs. Wyatt Hale scored six runs as a courtesy runner.

Rogers went 4-for-4 with four walks, four RBIs and five runs scored. Johnson went 3-for-8 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Wallace went 4-for-6 with seven RBIs, two runs scored and a home run. Dunn doubled and scored a run. Pritchett went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, a double and two RBIs.

Marengo Academy will play the winner of the Edgewood and Clarke Prep in the state championship series beginning Tuesday with a doubleheader at Paterson Field at 10 a.m. Should a third game be needed, it would be played at 3 p.m. Wednesday.