Adams wins 20th straight at home to force Game 3

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; You didn’t have to remind anyone prior to Tuesday of Adams Christian’s 19-game home winning streak before Tuesday’s game.

Yet head coach Gill Morris made sure he brought it up.

The Rebels haven’t lost at the Rebel Diamond this season and last suffered a defeat at home last season in the first game of a regular season doubleheader against Hillcrest Christian. Not only was that streak in jeopardy Tuesday against Simpson Academy, but the entire season was at stake as well.

Email newsletter signup

The Rebels responded with a 14-4 win to keep their streak alive, their season alive and win the first game in a state championship series in school history.

&uot;I told them in the fifth Adams Christian has been to the dance four times and has never won a state championship playoff game,&uot; Morris said. &uot;I said, ‘If you want to continue that tradition and lay down, Simpson is going to have one heck of a celebration on our field.’ I thought the kids came through.&uot;

The bats were enough to drive anyone with Simpson silly in the fifth and sixth innings as the Rebels rung up seven runs in each inning. The Cougars were well in control up until then with a 3-0 lead and only one hit allowed through four innings.

But the Rebels kicked it in high gear in the fifth, keeping their home streak alive and keeping their hopes for a title alive heading into Game 3 at 6 p.m. Thursday at Simpson.

The Rebels struggled at the plate in Game 1, losing 5-1.

&uot;We just have a lot of pride in our field,&uot; said senior David Trisler, who went the distance on the mound while allowing five hits. &uot;We see it as an insult for somebody to come in here and take a game from us.

&uot;That (Game 1) was our worst game runs-wise since Central Private, and that was the second game of the season. That bus ride was terrible on the way back &045; 2 1/2 hours after losing the first game of the state championship series. It was a big shock for everybody.&uot;

Trisler, however, kept things in control on the mound against a team that showed its ability to put up just as many runs on the board as the Rebels this postseason. It was Justin Priest who clubbed a grand slam off Adams ace Timmy Foster to break open Game 1, but Trisler and David New returned the favor Tuesday with a grand slam apiece.

Trisler, however, settled down after the first inning and allowed only three hits &045; two of which left the yard courtesy of Lake Eiland &045; to keep the Cougars from mounting a rally.

&uot;He has done well for us down the stretch,&uot; Morris said. &uot;He’s got an absolutely awesome changeup, and he mixed in enough curveballs in there. They’ve got some power. They’ve got some animals in the lineup. Their first five are awesome. They don’t swing at a whole lot of balls out of the zone, and they’re very disciplined.

&uot;We’ve got reports on them from four different teams. We tried to go inside and work away. That changeup is so tough. David’s just dies. You get a good power hitter up there, and he’s reading fastball &045; it’s probably the most frustrating pitch in baseball.&uot;

Trisler had problems in the first inning, but the Rebels had two errors that helped out Simpson and helped push across a run. Priest singled in Cullen Kight after Kight reached on an error, and Alex Ward reached on an error after that.

Trisler walked a batter in the second but didn’t walk another after that and went three balls into the count only twice. He wasn’t shaken by Eiland’s two homers &045; probably the unlikeliest of hitters on the team to leave the park.

&uot;This is definitely a hitter’s ball park,&uot; Simpson head coach Neill Bartling said. &uot;If you’re not used to playing here, you can’t take advantage of it quite as well. For some reason it seemed like we were a little tight. I think Trisler gets a little credit for that, and nerves in a state championship game get the other credit for it.

&uot;This is the first time I’ve been here since the ninth grade. If anybody pitches a shutout in this park, they’ve done a heck of a job.&uot;

The Rebels now can carry that 20-game home winning streak into next season, but that’s the least of their worries right now. There’s a final game to be played that will determine the Class AA state champion, a title the Cougars claimed last spring and one the Rebels have never done in baseball.

Corey Walker may get the start on the mound with Matt Barnes available in relief for the Rebels, who are expecting Ben Maddox to man the hill for the Cougars.

&uot;I couldn’t be happier,&uot; Morris said. &uot;Thanks to all the fans who came out &045; I know there were more people than AC people who came out. I’m just tickled to death to go back over there. Hopefully this will carry over to Thursday. You can rest assured they’re going to be ready for us. They have several banners in their outfield for state championships. They’re not going to lay down.&uot;