“I’m very proud of this team,” Fayetteville head coach Morris Phillips said. “First of all, I thank God for everything he does for us and for allowing us to make it this far in the playoffs and blessing us with such a great team. But again, I am so proud of them.
“They’ve done a lot that hasn’t been done at this school in over 20 years. We’re still not pleased with how this turned out. We’d much rather be playing for a state championship and winning it, but very thankful to be here.”
After relying on strong hitting and pitching throughout the season, the bats just weren’t there when they needed them on Friday. In the end Holy Spirit got the big hits when they needed them and played solid defense the rest of the way. The Titans homered three times in the two games to pick up the wins and advance to the AHSAA Class 1A State Championship Series.
“They swing the bat and they hit the ball like we do and they have good pitching,” Phillips said of Holy Spirit. “We just couldn’t tonight. Jeremy (Melton) struggled in the first game. He got tired and his arm was bothering him and we had to pull him out. He struggled there. I wished he’d been one hundred percent the whole game, but that’s just the way it goes.
“Matthew (Williams) struggled some in the second game, but he settled down there and those last three innings he pitched was awesome pitching.”
Austin Hoyt hit a two-run shot over the center field fence in the top of the fifth in the first game before teammate Evan Harrison added a two-run home run later in the inning. The hits gave Holy Spirit a five-run lead in the fifth as Alex Harrison hit an RBI-triple in the fourth to start the scoring.
The Titans tacked on their final run of the game in the sixth.
The Wolves made a strong run in sixth inning, scoring all five of their runs, but it wouldn’t be enough to get the victory. Jeremy Melton, Justin Ricks and Kirk Smith had the necessary hits to load the bases before Alan Ricks was hit by a pitch to walk in a run. Hunter Scott then had a two-RBI single to left field. Andrew Scott followed him to the play and hit a two-RBI single to left-center field.
Fayetteville managed to get one base runner in the seventh inning, but couldn’t get the hits to score the run.
Devin Young got the win on the hill in the first game, striking out six and giving up eight hits and five runs in seven innings of work.
Justin Ricks was 2-4 at the plate while Andrew Scott went 2-2. Hunter Scott was 2-3. Jared Williamson, Jeremy Melton, Kirk Smith and Alan Ricks all had a hit in the game.
Evan Harrison, Hoyt and Logan Kirkland each had two hits for Holy Spirit. Jackson Terry, Rick Tyler and Alex Harrison each had one hit in the game.
Jeremy Melton was the starting pitcher for the Wolves. He struck out six and gave up five runs on seven hits in four and one-third inning of work. Jarrett Vick relieved him in the fifth and struck out two while giving up one run.
Holy Spirit did its damage early in the second game. Rick Tyler hit a three-run home run over the left-center field fence to give the Titans an early 3-0 advantage. They scored one run in the second, another in the third and a final run in the fifth to get the victory.
Fayetteville got on the board in the third when Brett Autrey scored on a wild throw. The Wolves wouldn’t score again until the seventh inning. Autrey’s triple scored Hunter Scott, who got on base with a single to center field. With two outs and two players on base Holy Spirit’s first baseman snagged a fly ball by Jared Williamson to end the game and the Wolves’ season.
Fayetteville had just three hits in the final game. Matthew Williams took the loss on the hill, striking out nine, walking two and giving up seven hits and five runs.
The Wolves end the season with a record of 20-11. They’ll lose five seniors.
“I’m losing five seniors this year, but I’m really looking forward to next season,” Phillips said. “We started a lot of underclassmen and I really look forward to next year. Hopefully we can make another run next year and have fun again. That’s what this season was about, having fun and we had a blast. Hate to see it have to come to an end.”