By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika City Schools are closed this week for Spring Break. Most students are enjoying the time off by relaxing, working, going on a trip or doing whatever makes them happy. On the other hand, there are spring sports.
The OHS baseball team had five games scheduled Saturday through Wednesday. The softball team traveled to Gulf Shores for a tournament and to enjoy the beach.
The track team traveled to Homewood last weekend to participate in the Homewood Invitational Meet.
Coach Billy Jones has the Opelika baseball team playing at a high level. The Dawgs are 19-5 overall and 2-1 in the Area. The lone Area loss was to Benjamin Russell in nine innings in Alexander City. OHS won the first and third games of the series, which means OHS won the series against the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs won two games this week, beating Wetumpka at home and Russell County in Seale.
OHS vs Wetumpka:
Junior Tanner Blatt earned the win on the mound while adding three hits including a double and stole three bases to help propel Opelika to a 4-1 win over Wetumpka.
Gage Young was two for three with a double, and Chris Manley doubled scoring two runs.
OHS vs Russell County:
Opelika beat Russell County 5-2 in Seale in an important Area game. Gage Young pitched and earned the win, improving to 4-1.
Chris Manley and Matthew Christian led the Bulldogs at the plate with two hits apiece. Christian added four RBIs while Manley scored two runs.
Tanner Blatt, Gage Young, Blake Yountz, Kent Bugg and Tommie Jackson added hits. Jackson Grigsby and Jackson also scored scored runs.
Opelika also hosted Russell County in a doubleheader but the results were not available at press time.
The Bulldogs will make up their doubleheader at Auburn April 11 starting at 10 a.m. The junior varsity will play Auburn March 31 at 4:30 p.m. Both games wil be played at Sam Welborn field on the AHS campus.
OHS will compete in the Lake Martin Classic in Alex City. The game schedule was not known at press time.
The Opelika junior varsity baseball team has a 17-4 record overall.
The Opelika High girls and boys track teams traveled to Homewood last weekend to run in the Homewood Invitational. The girls finished third with 64.2 points behind Hoover and Homewood. The boys finished second with 94 points, behind Hoover’s 96 points.
The following are the top performers for the OHS girls and boys:
Natalie Jordan placed fifth and Ghania Warren was seventh in 100 meter hurdles; Kala Spinks was seventh in the 100 meter dash; Nate Huggins won the 100 meter dash; Marquavious Swanson placed fourth in the 110 meter hurdles; Kacey Spinks was seventh in the 110 meter; Ben Garner placed 10th in the 1600 meter run.
Diondra Larkin was fourth in the 200 meter; Nate Huggins won the 200 meter and Jalin Marshall was sixth; Kala Spinks finished fourth in the 300 meter hurdles; Kacey Spinks won the 300 meter hurdles; Ben Bryant won the 3200 meter run while Jonathan Bizilia was 13th; Natalie Jordan was ninth in the 400 meter; Jalin Marshall was third in the 400 meter.
The boys 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 meter relay teams finished first in both of their events.
Ty’tiana Lockhart was third in the discus and Jasmine Preston was sixth; Ty’tiana Lockhart won the javelin; Marquevious Swanson was fifth in the long jump, and Will Boler was third in the triple jump.
These are a few of the top performers at the Homewood Invitational.
Both track teams will have a great chance of winning the 6A state title.
DIXIE BOYS BASEBALL
The Opelika Dixie Boys Baseball League has extended registration through April 1. Players must be 13 or 14 years old. The cost is $40 per player, which includes a jersey and a cap. All players will be placed on a team regardless of experience. You can register at the Opelika Sportsplex. For more information, call me at 334-319-0467.
MIRACLE LEAGUE OPENING DAY
The Billy Hitchcock Miracle League will have opening day tomorrow at the Miracle field at 10a.m. Several games will be played Saturday. I encourage all of you to stop by the field at West Ridge Park and support the league. Your heart will be touched by this wonderful league that allows everyone to play baseball.
I remember the first meeting held to discuss building a Miracle field. I opened the Denson Drive Recreation Center one night so the meeting could take place.
I stood in the back of the room while Jim Rew and Jim Allen – to name two among the many – spoke about the positives of building the field. Little did I know the people of Opelika and surrounding areas would donate enough money to build the state-of-the-art facility we know as the Billly Hitchcock Miracle Field. Donors such as the late Charles Lawler, the James Samford Foundation and many more would come together and give money for such a great cause.
I watched my first Miracle League game at Winton Blount Park in Montgomery while running a Dixie Boys tournament at the same complex. Tears came to my eyes as I watched in amazement. Kids and adults were working together providing baseball to those with disabilities or other issues who could not play without the facility.
I am proud Opelika built the field and of all of the volunteers that make the Miracle League a miracle for all of us!
ON THE MARK ON RADIO
I invite you to listen to the On The Mark radio show weekdays 7-9 a.m. on WTLM 1520AM and online at iheartradio.com/WTLM. Jeff Sasser and I host the show each day with special guest hosts such as former coaches Larry Gore, Dan Washburn and Joe Wilson. We discuss local sports and other topics that come up. Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller calls twice a month after city council meetings to update everyone about the City of Opelika’s business.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for Qantum Radio, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.