Calera baseball powers past Tigers in area

By TREY HICKMAN/For the Reporter

WEST BLOCTON — A two-run homer in the top of the third by Calera’s Connor Bush broke a tie, and it was all downhill from there for host West Blocton as the Eagles eased to an 11-2 victory over their Class 4A Area 7 foe in varsity baseball April 3.

“That (homer) was clutch,” said Calera head coach Seth Gandy. “It was (tied) 2-2. It was a tight ballgame. You could feel the tension by both teams and that kind of gave us a little lead so-to-speak and (Calera starting pitcher) Matthew (Marfice) settled down and threw strikes after that so that (homer) was real huge.”

Marfice surrendered a run in both the first and second innings as Brendan Burns and Jake Parks had an RBI apiece. Following Bush’s bomb in the top of the third, Marfice shut out the Tigers over their final five at-bats for the complete-game victory.

Meanwhile, Calera’s bats weren’t done following the tie-breaking third. Tyler Harrell drove in a run the uncomfortable way (via a hit-by-pitch) in the top of the sixth. In the seventh the Eagles added insult to injury by exploding for six more runs, with Harrell and Coby Mize highlighting the output.

Mize blasted a two-run homer and Harrell followed with a solo shot. Marfice then shut the door on West Blocton’s chances in the bottom of the inning.

“They had back-to-back home runs and that’s huge,” Gandy said. “That’s something you don’t see a whole lot in high school baseball. That was huge for us. Really broke the game open. That was huge.”

Marfice went the distance, giving up two runs (both earned), striking out five, yielding six hits and walking three.

Harrell led the way for Calera offensively, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. Bush finished 1-for-2 with his two-run homer while B.J. Barker reached base in all five of his at-bats, going 3-for-3 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and an RBI of his own.

Mize recorded his two-run home run while Marfice went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI and Dylan Reddin drove in a pair of runs.

Calera improved to 9-20 overall and 2-1 in Class 4A Area 7.