Decatur Heritage's season comes to an end

·2 min read

Apr. 30—Both Friday and Saturday, Decatur Heritage coach Jay Mitchell reminded his baseball team to keep fighting as long as they had outs left.

The Eagles did and went three rounds with powerhouse Piedmont in the Class 3A playoffs.

The outs ran out Saturday afternoon with Piedmont taking a 17-8 victory to win the series.

The Bulldogs, who were Class 3A runner-up last, advance to the quarterfinals to host Gordo, last season's Class 4A runner-up. Decatur Heritage was last year's Class 2A runner-up.

"We fought to the end against a really good team," Mitchell said. "I told my guys how proud I am of them. It was a fight all the way to the end and we fought all the way to the end. I couldn't have asked for more from my guys."

Piedmont won Game 1, 7-2, and came close to making it a sweep in Game 2, but Decatur Heritage fought back to send it to extra innings. Bryant Sparkman's 10th inning home run gave the Eagles a 5-4 victory to square the series.

"We just wanted to get to Saturday and give ourselves a chance," Mitchell said.

Decatur Heritage led 2-1 after three innings in Game 3. Piedmont then erupted for six in the fourth and enjoyed an 8-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Heritage answered with four in the fifth and two more in the sixth to tie the game at 8-8. The Eagles had the go ahead run at third with one out in the sixth.

The nip-and-tuck contest turned into a rout in the top of the seventh. Piedmont scored nine times off some young, inexperienced Decatur Heritage pitchers who were new to the playoff pressure situation.

Sophomore Bo Mitchell went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Sophomore Bryant Sparkman went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Ford Sparkman drove in two runs.

After the battle had ended, no one looked worse than Decatur Heritage senior Bo Solley. His right arm was throbbing after throwing 111 pitches in Friday's doubleheader. His left shoulder was wrapped in ice after dislocating it in the seventh inning while diving for a ground ball.

"I definitely will be sleeping on my back tonight," Solley said.

Solley, who will play baseball in college at Harding University, was one of four seniors on the team. The other three are Aiden Waldrop, Jasper Miller and Paxton Woodruff.

"We're going to miss those seniors," Mitchell said. "They were wonderful leaders."

The final baseball game ended Solley's amazing career at Decatur Heritage. He starred in football, basketball and baseball. He went 1-for-2 with three RBIs Saturday.

"It's crazy to think that it's over," Solley said. "We've all been blessed to be part of this team." or 256-340-2395. Twitter @DD_DavidElwell.