Dawgs advance to third round of playoffs

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By D. Mark Mitchell

Sports Columnist

Photo by Robert Noles Opelika traveled to Dothan last Friday for second round match-up against another area champion. The Dawgs swept the Tigers, 8-3 and 11-5, advancing to the third round of the 6A state playoffs. Pictured above are the seniors (left to right) Harrison Morris, Bennett Whitman, Coach Billy Jones, Mathew Christian and Gage Young.  OHS will play Spanish Fort this afternoon on the road. The Toros are the defending 5A state champions.
Photo by Robert Noles
Opelika traveled to Dothan last Friday for second round match-up against another area champion. The Dawgs swept the Tigers, 8-3 and 11-5, advancing to the third round of the 6A state playoffs. Pictured above are the seniors (left to right) Harrison Morris, Bennett Whitman, Coach Billy Jones, Mathew Christian and Gage Young.
OHS will play Spanish Fort this afternoon on the road. The Toros are the defending 5A state champions.

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OHS TENNIS TEAMS COMPETE IN STATE TOURNAMENT
The OHS girls and boys tennis teams competed in the state tournament last weekend in Mobile. The girls finished 12th of 16 while the boys finished fifth, just six points away from winning the state championship.
Winston Smith T finished second to lead the Dawgs. Kevin Lazenby and Andrew Bizilia were both eliminated in the semifinal round. Ross Herring and Yash Dessa were eliminated in the semis.
Sara Hollis Smith T and Emme Levins both won first round matches for the girls. Taylor Watson and Smith T won double matches for OHS.
Congratulations to  Coach Adam Massey and girls and boys tennis teams!
BASEBALL ADVANCES TO THIRD ROUND IN AHSAA PLAYOFFS
Opelika traveled to Dothan last Friday for second round match-up against another area champion. The Dawgs swept the Tigers, 8-3 and 11-5, advancing to the third round of the 6A state playoffs.
Gage Young earned the first game win, allowing five hits and two runs. The win improved Young’s record to 9-1 on the year. OHS tallied eight  runs by the third inning before DHS got on the scoreboard. Opelika bats were hot as Mathew Christian, Gage Young, Blake Yountz, Bryant Norrell, Chris Manley and Harrison Morris all contributed hits.
In the second game, the Dawgs scored seven runs before Dothan answered. Mathew Christian earned the win with another good night on the mound. The senior held Dothan in check for most of the game. The Tigers scored a couple of runs off him before Coach Jones called on Kent Bugg to pitch the last two innings.
Christian recorded five hits in the doubleheader while earning a win on the mound. Blake Yountz, Harrison Morris and Chris Manley added two hits each.
BASEBALL SUMMARY
Opelika’s baseball team dominated Dothan in the doubleheader on the road. Coach Jones threw the book at the Tigers. We squeezed three straight times, all successful. OHS swung the bats, recording three doubles and 15 hits in the two games. Dothan never lead; in fact, OHS led 13 of the 14 innings. It was 0-0 after the first inning in game 2.
The wins improved Opelika’s record to 29-11 as they head to Spanish Fort for the third round of the playoffs.
OPELIKA vs SPANISH FORT
OHS will play Spanish Fort this afternoon on the road. The Toros are the defending 5A state champions. Spanish Fort moved to 6A this year after the AHSAA reclassified.
Spanish Fort defeated Saraland three games last weekend, Yes, three games! The Toros did not complete round one until Tuesday. Spanish Fort’s pitcher threw Tuesday and was not eligible to pitch in the series. After the game officials discovered the blunder, that caused Spanish Fort to forfeit game 1. The Toros won the next two games to advance to the third round.
LISTEN TO OPELIKA BASEBALL ON RADIO/INTERNET
Fans can listen to today’s quarterfinal game between Opelika and Spanish Fort on WZMG 910AM or kickerfm.com/ click “listen live” to Opelika baseball or on the iheartradio app on your smart phone. (search WTLM).
I will handle the play-by-play while Jeff Sasser and Coach Brian Blackmon analyze the game.
Airtime will be 4:50 p.m. with the first pitch at 5 p.m. We will carry both games of the doubleheader and the “if necessary” game Saturday.
Congratulations, Opelika baseball, for advancing to quarterfinals, the final 8 in class 6A.
TRACK
The Opelika High boys and girls track teams advanced to the state meet this weekend in Mobile. The boys won the Sectional meet while the girls finished second.
The Dawgs are favored to win the both the girls and boys state meet.The results of the sectional meet were not available at press time. I will have full coverage of both track teams in next week’s edition.
Congratulations and good luck to the OHS track teams!
SOFTBALL
The Opelika Lady Bulldogs softball team started the Area tournament this week. The girls played Benjamin Russell to open the double elimination tournament. The final two teams advance to the state tournament.
STAFF CHANGES
Opelika has announced a few staff changes in the athletic department. Brandon Johnson will leave OHS to Join Bryan Moore in Eufaula. Craig Montiel will move to OMS to be the head baseball coach, replacing Coach Estes who resigned. Zach Blatt will move to OHS to be in charge of conditioning and remain assistant baseball coach.
Coach Blackmon has not decided who will be the ninth grade football coach or who will replaced Coach Johnson.  Stay tuned for more staff changes as they are made public.
NEW BAND DIRECTOR AT OHS
Dr. Mark Neighbors and Dr. Farrell Seymore announced the hiring of David “Neil” Sasser as Band Director at OHS. Sasser has a number of years of experience. He was band director at Saraland High School among other assignments.
NEW SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER
Dr. Kevin Royal has replace Bob Meadows on the OCS Board of Education. Dr. Royal is married to Dr. Ellen Royal. They have three children , all attending Opelika City Schools.
Meadows has served on the school board since 1992. He will be missed but Dr Royal will be a terrific replacement.
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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