GAME 2: Auburn 1, Hewitt-Trussville 0 (Auburn wins championship)
MONTGOMERY – Senior Drew Jennings turned in a stellar pitching performance Saturday in game two of the Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series art Riverwalk Stadium and shut out Hewitt-Trussville 1-0 to seal the Tigers’ fourth state championship and first since 2010.
Jennings (10-2) allowed just three hits, had two walks and struck out six – but more importantly, pitched out of jams in the sixth and seventh innings to notch the final game victory. His superb effort came just 18 hours just 16 hours after teammate Brooks Fuller hurled four-hitter in game one to beat the Huskies 4-1.
Coach Matt Cimo’s Tigers (34-8) limited Hewitt-Trussville (32-11) to just one run and seven hits in the series. Coach Jeff Mauldin’s staff also pitched well, blanking Auburn in 13 of the 15 innings played, held the Tigers to nine total hits and five total runs.
Michael Fowler started Saturday for the Huskies pitched the first inning allowing one hit and no runs before leaving the game with soreness in his arm. Davis Burgin hurled the final six innings, allowing only three hits, one run and striking out three.
That one run turned out to be the big one. Auburn lead-off hitter Garrett Morris drew a walk to open the top of the third inning, stole second and went to third on Griffin Speaks’ bunt single. Jackson Arnold followed with a sacrifice fly to right field and Morris scored. It would be the only run the Tigers could muster all day but it was enough.
Jennings, who earned Class 7A series MVP honors, ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth when Tyler Mauldin, who had two hits, singled with two outs. Creed Parker was inserted as a pinch runner and moved to second when Caden Kirk drew a walk. Parker and Kirk double steals to move to second and third, but Jennings struck the next batter out to snuff the rally.
In the seventh inning, Jacob Bishop singled to opening the inning, advanced to second on a throwing error and moved to third on Zach Defnall’s sacrifice bunt. Jennings then got the next two batters to ground out to end the game.
Mauldin finished two singles an Bishop had the hit for Hewitt. Speaks had two hits for the Tigers, Ryan Lambert and Tanner Jones had the other hits.Hewitt-Trussville beat Auburn in 2016 to win the school’s only 7A state title. Auburn returned in 2017 falling to Hoover in the finals. The Tigers won championships previously in 1986, 2009 and 2010.
The 7A series ended the 63rd AHSAA State Baseball Championships, which were held annually from 1948 to 1961 for large schools, discontinued from 1962-69 and reinstated in 1970 completing its 49th season in the current format of separate classification championships.
It has been played annually in Montgomery since 2001.