by D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika School system is on spring break this week; however, the few sporting events that are still taking place are listed below. The remainder of the spring sports will return to action next week.
The Opelika girls tennis team (12-1) won the sectional tennis tournament Tuesday at the William Calhoun Tennis Center in Opelika by going 9-0. The Lady Bulldogs qualified for the State Tournament with the victory. Singles winners were Meagan Wade, Meg Larsen, Anna Lazenby, April Wade, Ashley Robertson and Kelcie Carpenter. Doubles winners were Meagan Wade/ Meg Larsen, Anna Lazenby/ April Wade and Ashley Carpenter/ Kelcie Carpenter.
The boys sectional tournament was moved to April 23, due to rain last Wednesday.
The Opelika varsity baseball team finished the season with a three game winning streak which included two wins over rival Auburn High School.
The Dawgs finished 9-17 under first year head coach Scott Sullivan. The team continued to improve as the season progressed, despite playing only two seniors. OHS played more freshmen and sophomores than juniors and seniors.
The Bulldogs started the win streak by beating Eastern High School of Louisville, Ky., the second-ranked team in Kentucky, 7-5.
The Bulldogs beat AHS two straight games to finish the season. Game one was at Auburn and OHS scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to down the Tigers.
Opelika followed up the first win by defeating Auburn at Bulldog Park, 9-8, on senior night.
Behind a strong pitching performance from senior Taylor Grigsby, the Dawgs jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth inning. Grigsby pitched four strong innings, allowing one run on one hit while striking out five batters. The Tigers tied the game in the fifth, scoring six runs on six hits.
The Bulldogs appeared to take a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the sixth after B.J. White hit a two run double. The home crowd and the team begin to cheer and celebrate. But things changed after a short delay as the umpire ruled the second Opelika run did not count because the runner had missed tagging home plate. The call ended the inning and left the score tied at 8-8. The call was disputed by coach Sullivan in an orderly way, but the umpire would not change his mind even though he had originally given the safe sign as the runner crossed the plate.
The game moved to the seventh tied. Sophomore OHS pitcher Garrett Brown retied three Tiger batters in a row. Opelika won the game in the bottom of the inning after Jared Harper hit a grounder to shortstop with two outs and beat the throw allowing Christian to score from third base to win the game.
“Jared’s a senior, and what a great way to end your career at Opelika, to use his God-given speed. He put the ball in play on the ground and with his speed it put pressure on the defense,” coach Sullivan said after Harper beat the throw to win the game.
Freshman Mathew Christian, who started every game this year, was happy after the game.
“It felt great just winning and finishing our season strong. It was hard, but we fought for our seniors so they could win our last home game,” Sullivan said.
Quin Snipes went three for four with an RBI and scored a run, B.J. White added three hits including two doubles, Tyler Jones added two hits including a triple, Garrett Brown and Mathew Christian each had hits for Opelika.
Coach Sullivan and his staff and players are holding a week-long baseball camp May 29 through June 1, for 7 to 12-year-olds. The camp will be from 8 a.m. to noon and will be held at Bulldog Park and at the OHS baseball facility. The cost is $100 per camper with only 75 spots available.
The objective is to offer a positive, fun, safe and educational environment for young players to enhance their baseball skills through the knowledge of the experienced staff.
Mark Fuller, owner of Sports Academy in Opelika will also help with the camp.
Pre-register by May 25 to reserve your spot. Please send a $50 non-refundable deposit to: OHS Baseball, OHS 1700 Lafayette Pkwy. Opelika, AL 36801.
Please make check payable to: Opelika Baseball.
For more information you can call OHS athletics at (334) 745-9718 and ask for Scott Sullivan.
The Opelika Middle School wrapped up a great season last Saturday, participating in a tournament in Smiths Station. The Dawgs finished 19-5. Three of the losses were to Wetumpka’s junior varsity team.
Girls Basketball Camp
OHS girls basketball coach Devin Booth will hold a girls basketball camp June 11-13 from 8 a.m. until noon for fourth through ninth graders. The camp will feature offensive fundamentals, defensive fundamentals and team play.
The camp will be held in the Sports Arena at OHS.