Chambers baseball sweeps season series against Springwood, both teams ready for playoffs

Published 11:06 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019

LANETT  — The Chambers Academy baseball team (15-9) defeated Springwood School  (4-18) 9-3 on Tuesday afternoon. The victory gave the Rebels the season sweep over the Wildcats.

“I feel good. We’re playing good ball right now,” Chambers Academy head baseball coach Dillon NesSmith said. “It’s always fun to beat Springwood. The kids love it, and it’s great momentum going into the postseason. It could’ve gone either way, they’re a good ball team, they’re a really good ball team. They’re coached well.”

Springwood opens the postseason on Friday night at AISA No. 8 Macon-East. 

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The Wildcats pulled off the 3-2 upset win over Macon-East on April 4 after dropping the first two games to them earlier this season.

“We’re going to have to not make any errors against them as we did in the regular season,” Springwood senior pitcher and infielder Tillman Waters said. “A full clean game. [Springwood junior] Cameron Hopkin pitched a great game, and we hit the ball well”

Chambers Academy will open up the postseason at home against Evangel at 2 p.m. EDT.

“[We need to] stay together, no horseplaying,” Chambers Academy junior Caydon Smoot said. “We have to do what we have to do, get our minds right for Friday and make a run.”

The Rebels carry a chip on their shoulders heading into this postseason after making the state championship series last season. Chambers Academy hasn’t received nominations all season to be ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association prep polls.

“We do feel like we’re flying under the radar and that’s fine because sometimes the underdogs bite,” Smoot said. “I think we’re going to bite this year. We’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.”

Jacob Oliver led the Rebels in Tuesday’s victory with two RBIs on the offensive side of the ball. Chambers Academy broke away from Springwood at the top of the fifth inning when the Rebels capitalized on the Wildcats fielding errors with stolen bases. The Rebels scored three two-out runs at the top of the fifth inning and carried a 9-1 lead going into the bottom half.

“We’re hitting the ball well, it’s probably been the best since I’ve been here,” NesSmith said. “We’re not playing as well in the field as I’d like to, we had a couple of costly errors in the field today.”

Tuesday marked the final time Springwood seniors Waters and Dylan Anderson would play at home, as the Wildcats prepare for a postseason full of road matchups.

“It’s been rough this year, but these past few weeks we’ve put it together and we’ve done amazing things,” Anderson said. “I’ve had three different coaches for all three years. It’s hard to keep focus when you have so many things going around, but hopefully, it will be good in  the end.”

Anderson later said that he believes first-year head coach David Strickland is the right man to lead the program moving forward.

“I see him taking it really far,” he said. “His thing at the beginning of the season when he came to coach was to change the identity of the team. He’s done that. We’ve come so far, it’s crazy.”