Oak Forest Academy survives upset bid by ACCS to take series lead

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School’s varsity baseball team gave a good Oak Forest Academy a tougher-than-expected match-up last Tuesday afternoon in Game 1 of the first round of the 2024 MAIS Class 5A South State Playoffs.

Unfortunately for District 4-5A No. 4 seed ACCS, their pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone and that proved to be costly as the Rebels lost the District 3-5A champion and No. 1 seed Oak Forest Academy Yellow Jackets 6-5.

“Definitely the best team gave we’ve had this year. We gave Oak Forest, who is a great team, everything they wanted,” Rebels head coach Jake Winston said. “If we clean up a few walks, one crucial error, and a couple of wild pitches, we win the game.”

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Even though Game 1 of this best-of-three opening-round series was played at ACCS, not many people gave the Rebels a chance of even giving Oak Forest, which won a really tough district just last week, much of a showing.

Instead, the Rebels came ready to play and let the Yellow Jackets know they were not going to run away with the opener.

Tyson Young got the start on the mound and he did his best to give ACCS a chance to pull off what would have been a huge upset. Young went four and one-third innings and gave up three runs on five hits, struck out six, and walked three.

Colton Rabb, who was charged with the loss, came on in relief and walked a few batters himself. But at times, both Young and Rabb had some untimely walks, hit batters, and wild pitches — much to the dismay of coach Winston.

“Defensively we played really well, only committing one error for the game. However, a few wild pitches, with runners on, allowed OFA to move runners and score. If we clean up our six walks/hit by pitches and limit our wild pitches, it would be our best defensive game of the year,” Winston said.

ACCS hit the ball well against the Yellow Jackets. The Rebels finished with seven base hits and were led by Caden Aplin, who went 2-for-2, both of them bunt singles, and had what Winston said was a big sacrifice bunt. Tristan Burns, Sean Kerry Cothern, and Chris Sewell each had a double. Coleman Carter and Levi Beesley each went 1-for-4 with a single.

“We had a great approach (Tuesday night) offensively and did a lot of great things against a really good team,” Winston said. “Our preparation for this game was the best it’s been all year and our guys really bought into what we were telling them.”

Despite the loss that put ACCS down 1-0 in the series, Winston said he was pleased with the effort and the energy the Rebels displayed.

“I’m really proud our fight and energy tonight. Our energy tonight was the best it’s been all year and kept us in the game,” Winston said. “We lost tonight with our winning run on first base against a number one seed and I can’t ask for anything more from my guys. The grinded tonight and battled hard.

“We prepared for Oak Forest four hours at practice on Monday and with our preparation and confidence going into this game, it showed everyone what we are capable of doing as a team,” Winston continued. “Obviously, a loss always hurts, but if we are going to lose, this is how we want it to be. We have a tough battle by having to beat a great team twice on Friday. But if we come out with this same energy and fight, we can do it.”

ACCS (6-18) travels to Amite, La. to take on Oak Forest Academy on Friday. Game 2 is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. If the Rebels win that game, that will force a series-deciding Game 3 which will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2. However, if the Yellow Jackets win Game 2, the Rebels’ season will be over and OFA will move on to the Class 5A South State Semifinals, which takes place next week.