Luverne Tigers down Dale County

Published 6:39 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

After downing Dale County twice last Friday, the Luverne Tigers are now heading into the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs as they get ready to travel to Headland this Friday.

Friday was also Senior Day, a special day for three LHS baseball players and their parents as they were recognized before the games.

“I feel like these guys have been with me forever,” head coach Andre Parks said of second baseman Matthew Sipper, center fielder Chad Free, and third baseman Micah Wallace. “They’ve been a part of two area championships, and they’ve helped to break the school record for wins—in 2007 it was 20 wins, and this year, so far, it’s up to 22.”

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Parks said the three seniors had been a part of close to 80 wins for the Tigers.

“They’re a special group,” Parks said. “They’ve been with me all four years. I’m so proud of these guys, and I’m really going to miss them after graduation.”

Dale County didn’t have a chance during last Friday’s first game as the Tigers walked away with a 10-0 win in five innings, with Luverne gaining 7 runs in the 5th inning alone.

Junior Monterio May was the winning pitcher for the Tigers, pitching a complete game and giving up only two hits and striking out five batters. Ryan Waters and Chad Free both had three hits each. Monterio May, Evan Richardson, and Adam Foster added two hits each as well.

“I thought we came out and took care of business in that game,” Parks said.

The Tigers continued to take care of business as they went on to win the second game 14-4, again in five innings.

The winning pitcher for LHS was junior Corey Hale, who pitched all five innings, struck out six batters and gave up only four hits. Leading hitters for the game were Ryan Waters, Corey Hale, Evan Richardson, and Matthew Sipper, who had two hits each. Also, Richardson hit a homerun in the second inning.

“This game was highlighted by a 10-run 5th inning,” Parks said. “Everything we did went right for us during that inning.”

This Friday, Luverne will travel to Headland for the second round of state playoff pairings. The first game is scheduled for 4 p.m., and the second one at 6:30 p.m. If needed, the last game will be played Saturday at noon.

Currently, Luverne’s record is 22-5; they are still ranked 5th in the state in Class 3A, with 16 teams left in the playoffs.

Parks is ready for Friday’s games.

“This team we’re playing is a well-coached team,” he said. “Coach Seth Nolen and I played college baseball together at Central Alabama Community College—we’re longtime friends, and we’re looking forward to playing against each other.”