Taylorsville Tartars eliminate Wesson Cobras, 15-2

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

      WESSON — Taylorsville’s quest for a Class 2A state baseball championship moved one step closer Monday night. The Tartars eliminated Wesson’s Cobras 15-2 in the South State semifinals as starting pitcher Jordan Hayes tossed a 5-strikeout, 4-hitter, giving his team a sweep of the best-of-three series.

     On Saturday night, senior teammate Sam Walley authored a 15-srikeout, 2-hit shutout in a 4-0 win over Wesson at Taylorsville. Walley is an LSU-Eunice signee.

     Taylorsville (26-4) awaits the winner of the Richton-Loyd Star series in the South State finals series. Last year Taylorsville was runner-up to Bruce in the state championship finals.

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     “We are blessed with arms (pitchers), said Taylorsville coach Dusty Hillman, a 1999 Taylorsville graduate. “Mitch Evans, out pitching coach, does a great job with them.”

     It was Taylorsville’s fifth straight year to eliminate Wesson from the playoffs. The Cobras (22-8) called on senior pitcher Alex Smith to even the series but a 7-run, fifth-inning explosion by the Tartars broke open a close game.

     Smith, a Co-Lin signee, went 4.2 innings. He gave up 10 runs on 6 hits, walking 5 and striking out 4.

     Tyler McLeod replaced Smith with 2 out and the bases loaded. He was greeted by Jarvis Griffith’s base-clearing, 3-run double.

     “Our pitcher (Hayes) had good stuff tonight,” said Coach Hillman. “He battled through some tough spots. Our infield has been solid all year. Our third baseman and second baseman have been playing since they were freshmen.”

     Hayes (7-0), a strong right-handed junior, walked 2 batters. He was replaced by Joseph Gateley in the seventh.

     Wesson coach Seth Lofton shared hugs and whispered words of encouragement to his players after the game. He loses seven starters to graduation. The Cobras move  to Class 3A next year.

     “We didn’t play very well tonight,” said Lofton. “When you get this far in the playoffs, you have to play well to give yourself a chance.”

     Several close defensive plays didn’t go Wesson’s way. Lofton said, “There were some bang-bang plays and they (Tartars) got the calls.”

     Taylorsville turned 2 double plays.

     Lofton said his team had a great season. “My seniors have won three district championships.”

     The Tartars loaded the bases in the second inning and broke a scoreless duel when Bryce Ainsworth was hit by a Smith pitch. A ground ball by Griffith plated the second run for a 2-0 lead.

     Wesson got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Taylor Roberts delivered an RBI single between first and second base, scoring courtesy runner Eddie McCullum.

     Taylorsville scored again in the third inning after catcher Brady Bray doubled to the right field fence. He raced home with the third run.

     Wesson responded with 1 run in the third, reducing the deficit to 3-2. Quentin Munn beat out a dribbler to third base. Kaleb Skinner advanced courtesy runner Mac McQuage on a sacrifice bunt. A fielding error by the shortstop allowed McQuage to score his team’s second run.

     Munn finished with 2 hits for Wesson. Griffith had 3 hits for Taylorsville. Bray and Walker each had 2 hits.

Lady Cobras Eliminated

     Enterprise-Clarke beat Wesson’s girls 3-1 Monday and eliminated the Lady Cobras from the Class 2A state softball playoffs, sweeping the best-of-three South finals series.