High school baseball: Russell County advances behind Webb's big day

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerApril 20, 2013 

SEALE, Ala. -- Russell County senior second baseman Hunter Webb called his team’s offense “stacked.” Everyone in the lineup can hit, he said.

That’s the reason he went to the plate twice in the same inning with the bases loaded on Saturday. It’s also the reason that, both times, he belted the ball over the fence in left field for grand slams.

Behind his bat and others, the Warriors swept their doubleheader at home against Jackson, winning 10-0 and 13-0 to advance to the second round of the state playoffs. They will play the winner of Satsuma and Rehobeth.

“I have faith in everyone in our lineup,” Webb said after the game.

For good reason.

Leading 2-0 with no outs in the top of the second inning of game two, Webb approached the plate with the bases loaded. Coleson Taylor had walked, Nic Griggs had reached on an error and Jonathan Conner had slapped an RBI single. Webb left no doubt, though, punishing a fastball well over the fence for his first grand slam of the inning.

Nine batters later, still in the second, Webb improbably came to the plate with loaded bases again, and again he knocked a home run out to left field. His run was the last of a 12-run inning that gave the Warriors a commanding 13-0 lead.

Over the course of the two games, Webb was 4 for 6 with four runs scored, two home runs and nine RBIs.

“I’ve been hitting off the tee a lot lately, just working every day on my hitting, and it’s really paid off,” said Webb, whose impressive inning held state and national significance.

His eight RBIs tied for the third most in an inning in Alabama history, according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association. He was one RBI shy of tying the state record of nine, held by two former players. The two grand slams, however, tied for the nation’s most in a single inning, according to the National Federation of High Schools.

Webb’s performance Saturday came just seven days after hitting two home runs in a single inning against Carroll-Ozark.

“I’m just trying to produce for the team,” Webb said. “I like the guys hitting behind me. Hitting leadoff, I’m just trying to get on base for those guys.”

Though Webb was the main attraction, the rest of the lineup produced all game as well. In the first game, eight of nine batters recorded at least one hit and two, B.J. Brooks and Nic Griggs, knocked home runs of their own. In the second game, seven batters recorded a hit and Anfernee Grier added a two-run home run, which also came in the big second inning.

“We’re just hitting the ball really well right now,” Warriors coach Tony Rasmus said. “The last 30 games or so, we’ve been swinging it. It makes it a lot easier on the pitchers.”

Not that the pitchers needed it.

Though neither starter, Jesse Nelson or Todd Dial, was locked in with their best stuff, both scrambled well enough to hurl five-inning shutouts. Nelson gave up just four hits and struck out six in the first game. Dial allowed just four hits and struck out 11 in game two.

“Neither was particularly sharp,” Rasmus said. “We worked ourselves into a couple of jams, but they made the pitches they needed to get out of it.”

Nelson said he didn’t worry about the runners that reached base, instead just focusing on each individual pitch.

“You can’t let that stuff get in your head,” he said. “Don’t focus on that. Just take everything out of your head and go after the batter.”

Twice in the second game, Dial worked out of bases-loaded jams, once with just one out. On that occasion, he struck out the final two batters of the inning to preserve the shutout.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.

Saturday at Russell County

Game 1

Jackson 000 00—0 4 3

Russell County 021 61—10 10 2

WP—Nelson. LP—Gunter. Leading hitters—Russell County, Nic Griggs 2-2, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 Rs, Trent Belcher 2-3, 2B, RBI, 2 Rs, B.J. Brooks 2-3, HR, RBI, 2 Rs.

Game 2

Russell County 1120 00—13 12 0

Jackson 000 00—0 4 1

WP—Dial. LP—Barton. Leading hitters—Russell County, Anfernee Grier 1-2, HR, RBI, 2 Rs, Hunter Webb 3-4, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs, 2 Rs, Trent Belcher 2-4, 2 2Bs, Jesse Nelson 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, R. Records—Russell County, 38-6. Next—Friday vs. Satsuma/Rehobeth.

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