AC takes Game 3, Prep next

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

JACKSON &045; Timmy Foster may never have felt more comfortable on the mound in his life.

So what if it was the late innings of the deciding Game 3 of the state semifinals and a strong Hillcrest lineup was backed into a corner? Foster, armed with that remodeled curveball and a sneaky changeup, had a good lead to work with, and pitched one-hit ball over the last three innings.

That with some timely hits helped Adams Christian take a 9-3 win Thursday over Hillcrest to take the series and advance to the Class AAA state championship series next week against Jackson Prep.

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Hillcrest won Game 1 Thursday, 5-3.

&uot;They doubted us,&uot; said the sophomore Foster. &uot;We showed them what we’re about. We’re not playing. We’re going for the win. We hadn’t lost a doubleheader all year. We knew we had to come out pumped up because they were pumped up.&uot;

The win put the Rebels playing for a state championship for the third time in school history and searching for that first big prize. They entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from the South and pulled impressive wins over Jackson Academy and Hillcrest to get to the finals.

Game 1 is 6 p.m. Tuesday in Natchez, and the series will be completed at Prep either Thursday or Friday.

&uot;We’re going to the big dance,&uot; Adams head coach Gill Morris said. &uot;I told the guys in between games if we played like that in the second game, the season was over. I know you’re tired of hearing this, but we did what we had to do. Timmy threw strikes, we put pressure on them and they folded.

&uot;Nothing would be sweeter than to win a state championship at Prep, and that’s what we’re going to gear up for this week.&uot;

After trailing all of Game 1, the Rebels never lost the lead in Game 2. But the Cougars cut it to one after four and started to knock at the door, and the Rebels got two big breaks in fifth and sixth innings to give Foster room to work.

What was a 4-3 AC lead turned into 7-3 after five and 9-3 after six.

&uot;Their guys did a good job of putting the ball in play,&uot; Hillcrest head coach Shane Kelly said. &uot;They got up on us, and they’re a good ball team.&uot;

Hard-throwing Cody Satterwhite, who came in relief with one out in the third and retired five straight, ran into the trouble in the fifth. He walked Dustin Case and Foster before hitting David Trisler with a pitch to load the bases.

Satterwhite got Douglas Davis on a strikeout before David New knocked a grounder to third that got by the third baseman to score Case and Foster for a 6-3 lead. Joseph Dunlap’s high infield chopper loaded the bases again, and Trisler then scored on a fielder’s choice.

&uot;He likes to work quick,&uot; Morris said of Satterwhite. &uot;We were putting it right in his hands and stepped right back in there in the box. I told the guys, ‘You take a timeout. Do something to make him stand there.’ He had a tough time throwing strikes, and that’s the story on him this year. We started backing up and making him think about throwing strikes.&uot;

The Rebels left two on in that inning, and Satterwhite walked the first two batters he faced again in the sixth. Kelly then brough in reliever Ryan Cobb, who struck out the first two batters before Douglas Davis launched a fly ball to right that Hillcrest misplayed to score Williams and Case.

&uot;He couldn’t find his breaking ball for a strike,&uot; Kelly said. &uot;It’s hard to pitch when you’ve got one pitch.&uot;

Those turn over events, meanwhile, left Foster in prime position to put the game away. Landon McCaskill led off the fifth with a single, but he got forced out at second on a gronder up the middle.

Hillcrest didn’t put a ball out of the infield after that, and Foster got pinch-hitter Brandon Alford to strike out looking to end the game.

&uot;I threw different pitches just about every time,&uot; Foster said. &uot;We had great defense behind us. But runs are really important when you’re pitching. You feel much more comfortable out there. We got the key hits when we needed it.&uot;

Hillcrest 5, ACCS 3 (Game 1)

The Rebels left 11 runners stranded and out-hit the Cougars 7-4, but two costly errors and a couple wild pitches were enough for Hillcrest to take advantage.

The Cougars got two in the first off Williams on three hits and added two in the third and another in the fourth. But in the third Sandon Bell walked to lead off the inning, went to third on a Mark Basye single and scored on a wild pitch.

Basye came around to score on three wild pitches to take a 4-1 lead.

In the fifth nine-hole hitter Landon McCaskill walked, stole second, went to third on an error and scored on an error.

The Rebels got a run in the third on consecutive doubles from Foster and Trisler. Trisler hit a two-run homer in the fifth.