The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

March 7, 2013

Hook, line & sinker: ABS pitcher hurls no-hitter

— Striding through the crowded Athens Bible School gym to the locker room, Hayden Phillips is a polite, unassuming student with a quick smile and a wry sense of humor.

But on the baseball diamond, Phillips, a lanky, 5-foot-11-inch senior, is steely and steadfast as Athens Bible aims for the first Class 1A state championship since winning the title in 2008.

In the first four games this season, Phillips, the Trojans’ starting shortstop, moved over to the mound as a relief pitcher when the Trojans (5-0) needed a few strikeouts to close out a victory.

ABS coach Bill Murrell penciled in Phillips as the starting pitcher against Tanner on Monday, and all the right-handed sinkballer did was strike out nine of 15 batters en route to a five-inning no-hitter and a 12-0 road victory against the 2A Rattlers in a matchup of 2012 playoff teams.

“My arm felt really good but it was my first start as a pitcher, and I wasn’t thinking about throwing a no-hitter. I couldn’t have done it without a great defense and our catcher, Jacob Hagewood,” said Phillips, who started playing baseball when he was five years old. “When I started warming up between the fourth and fifth innings, I knew I had a chance, and I started throwing sidearm. I kept thinking about what (assistant) coach Billy Hall says about making every pitch count, and what (pitching) coach Melvin Miller says about always hitting your spots and making sure to hit the corner.”

Pitching gem

Phillips, who can deliver a two-seam or sidearm sinker, retired the last 10 Rattlers, including the final five on strikeouts, and threw 74 pitches for an average of only 4.9 throws per batter.

Murrell said Phillips is the first Trojans pitcher to throw a no-hitter against a playoff-caliber team in at least four seasons.

“It’s early in the season, and I let him pitch more pitches than normal. I just couldn’t pull him when he had a no-hitter going,” said Murrell, who enters his 40th season as head coach with a 706-52 record and 29 playoff appearances.

The sinker, a fast pitch that breaks downward as it reaches the plate, prevented the Tanner hitters from making pure contact and helped induce three groundball outs.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Tanner leadoff hitter reached first on an error but was put out by a force play. In the second, Phillips allowed the game’s only fair ball hit into the air when a Rattler hitter connected on a sharp liner to center but it was snared on the run by centerfielder Carter Corneil.

In the third, Tanner senior catcher Dexter Douglas, who started at linebacker for the state champion Rattlers football team, drew a pass from Phillips, who elected not to challenge him.

“The umpire wasn’t giving me the corner, and he kept fouling off pitches so I walked him — he’s a good athlete,” said Phillips, who also throws a circle changeup, two-seam and four-seam fastballs and a slider.

Text Only
Local News 2
  • West Limestone’s Siniard picks Southern Miss

    Siniard committed to the Golden Eagles Saturday after visiting the campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The 6-foot-4-inch, 290-pound offensive and defensive tackle has started for the varsity since he was a freshman.

    July 30, 2014

  • tractor*pull!2!.jpg TRACTOR PULL: A new generation takes over in Tanner

    One of the first families of the Tanner pull is the Haneys. Horace Haney, along with brother, Shirley, co-founded the event in 1976 that draws thousands to the county each year. The sons of those pulling pioneers now run the show.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay! Haney!.jpg Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps

    After watching his dad pull for the past 20 years, Clay finally got his chance. Although he has pulled multiple times over the years, this will be the first year to compete for points in the Mid-South Pullers Association.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • North win streak improves to 12

    The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.

    July 24, 2014

  • Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep

    East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.

    July 23, 2014

  • Davidson helps North tie

    She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
    Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game

    Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
    Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong local presence at state All-Star Week

    Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.

    July 19, 2014

  • Chris Seibert -1996.jpg Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide

    A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • State softball tournament begins in Athens today

    The three-day, double-elimination event begins at 6 tonight at the Athens Sportsplex.

    July 11, 2014

Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee