Bulldog baseball begins

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By D. Mark Mitchell

Sports Columnist

OHS WRESTLING
Three OHS wrestlers won medals at the 2015 AHSAA State Wrestling Tournament in Huntsville last weekend. Coach Jim Davis watched  Angelo Farrow, Ethan Knight and Tory Birdsong win awards.
Junior Angelo Farrow finished 5-1, earning third place in the 120 lb. weight class. Farrow ended the season with a 48-15 overall record. Freshman Tory Birdsong went 3 and 3 to finish sixth in the 106 lb. weight class. Senior Ethan Knight finished fifth in the 145 lb. weight class after winning four out of six matches. Knight, who began wrestling for OHS as a eighth-grader, finished his final high school season 40-12.
The OHS wrestling team consisted of 21 student-athletes, many will return for next season.
OHS TENNIS
Coach Adam Massey’s girls and boys tennis teams played five matches in the last week.
OHS vs Enterprise:
The OHS girls lost 9-0 while the boys lost 6-3. This was the first match of the year and is not an indication of the talent on the teams.
Winners were:Winston Smith T and Kevin Lazenby won singles matches and teamed up to win their doubles match.
Round Robin
The girls and boys played a round robin match with Hilcrest-Tuscaloosa, Montgomery Academy and Sylacauga. The following is the results of the players.
Boys
Singles
Kevin Lazenby 2-0, Winston Smith T, 2-0, Andrew Bizilia 2-0, Scott Carpenter 2-0, Ross Herring 1-1, and Conner Pruitt 1-1.
Doubles-Lazenby/Smith T 2-0, Bizilia/ S. Carpenter 1-1 and Herring and Yash Desai 1-1.
Girls
Sara Smith T 1-1, Cameron Walker 1-1, Emme Levins 1-1 and Taylor Watson 1-1.
Doubles
Sam Herring/Emma Grace Scullen 1-1, Walker/ Levins 0-2, Watson/ Smith T -1-1
OHS vs CENTRAL
The OHS tennis teams swept Central, girls winning 7-2 while the boys won 9-0.
Girls
Singles winners;   Scullen, Herring, Walker, Levins and Watson.
Doubles-Herring/Levins and Watson/Smith T.
OHS vs Dothan
Coach Adam Massey scheduled powerhouse Dothan, one of the top teams in Alabama. He knew his team needed the experience. Both teams lost 1-8 but several matches were close, with tiebreakers.
Boys
Singles-Lazenby 1-6, 1-6; Smith T  3-6, 1-6; Bizilia 1-6, 6-6 (6-8 tiebreaker); Carpenter 3-6, 4-6; Herring 1-6, 3-6 and Pruitt 6-3, 3-6 (10-7 tiebreaker).
Doubles-Lazenby/Smith T 1-6, 6-2 (7-2), Bizilia/Carpenter 4-6, 6-2 (6-10) and Desai/Herring 7-5, 3-6 (7-10)
Girls
Herring 3-6, 0-6; Walker 1-6, 0-6; Levins 1-6, 0-6; Smith T 0-6, 0-6 and Watson 2-6, 0-6.
Doubles
Herring/Scullen 2-6, 5-7 (7-10); Walker/Levins 1-6, 0-6 and Smith T /Watson 3-6, 1-6.
The tennis team is off until next Monday when it goes against Smiths Station and Benjamin Russell on Tuesday.
BASEBALL
The Opelika High baseball team won its first two games to start the 2015 season 2-0.
OHS opened the day by defeating GW Long (of Skipperville, in Dale County) 11-3. Bennett Whitman earned the win, pitching five innings. Kent Bugg pitched the last two innings. Mathew Christian was three for 4 with two RBI, Gage Young added three hits while Tanner Blatt added two.
In the second game of the day, Opelika beat Beauregard 8-2 behind Gage Young’s complete game on the mound. Cullen Senn was a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate while Blatt added three more hits. The Dawgs play Central today in a double header at Bulldog Park, first pitch is set for 4:30.
The OHS junior varsity defeated Beauregard 9-8 on a cold windy Monday night. Taylor Jones went 3 for 3 and Jared Bartlett and Kolby Lee added two hits apiece. Jake Chase earned the win.
BASKETBALL
The Bulldog varsity basketball team lost by one point at the buzzer in the Regional against Paul Bryant of Tuscaloosa in the “Sweet 16” round of the AHSAA 6A basketball playoffs.
Coach John Wadsworth’s (10th season) team held a two-point lead with 30 seconds left in regulation. Paul Bryant missed a shot, Charlie Benton rebounded the ball for OHS. A Paul Bryant player wrapped his arms around Benton to foul so the clock stops, apparently forcing us to shoot a one and one free throw. As the Paul Bryant player fouled, Benton tried to jerk away. The officials blew whistles to call, what Opelika fans thought, a foul on Paul Bryant. Instead the three officials gathered in a huddle for 5-8 minutes while everyone in the gym looked on.
The officials ruled that Benton hit the Paul Bryant player with his elbow. This is a technical foul and was Benton’s fifth foul. They also ruled a foul (on P. Bryant) before the elbows.
As soon as the Opelika crowd understood the call, fans began to yell angrily. Coach Wadsworth calmly gathered his team trying to keep them focused.
As a result of the play, Wadsworth had to put Jucorey Love in the game to shoot the foul shots for Benton who had fouled out.
Love missed the free throw. Paul Bryant was awarded two free throws and possession of the ball. They missed both free throws.
With OHS holding a two-point lead, Paul Bryant inbounded the ball and ran 25 seconds off the clock before taking a shot to tie the game.
Opelika fouled the shooter as he missed the shot.
With 5.5 seconds left, down two, Paul Bryant had two more free throws. He made the first, missed the second. After the second miss the ball bounced into the hands of a Paul Bryant player. He put the ball back in the goal to win by one as the horn sounded ending the game.
It was an incredible and disappointing finish for Coach Wadsworth and his team.
The Dawgs showed lots of class, gathering themselves and shaking hands with the Paul Bryant team as tears flowed down the cheek of our players.
I want to congratulate Coaches Wadsworth, Lancaster, Meadows and the players on a great season. The team won the regular season and tournament title .The Dawgs swept rival Auburn and finished 22-6 on the year!
OPELIKA HIGH GRADUATION RATE
The Alabama State Department of Education released graduation rates for 2013-14 for every high school in Alabama. I am proud to write that the Opelika High graduation rate of 92 percent is the highest of any high school in Lee County!
Congratulations to the administration, Drs. Seymore, Burton, Rickett and Neighbors and all the teachers and students at OHS! Job well done!
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.

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