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
  • 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

  • Run with goats Saturday

    Belle Chevre Creamery will hosts the first annual ‘Running with the Goats’ Saturday in downtown Elkmont. The event will feature a 10K, 5K and fun run on the certified Rails to Trails course.

    July 10, 2014

  • Softball team.JPG Athens softball team wins state

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • American Outlaws1.jpg American Outlaws: Locals band together to support U.S. soccer team

    One of the newest official chapters is in North Alabama where U.S. supporters have banded together to form American Outlaws Huntsville.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cody McCain 1.JPG Cantering forward: McCain charged with reviving Colts' program

    Cody McCain, 28, is the youngest head football coach in Limestone County, emerging from a pool of 107 applicants to become Clements' third coach in three years in early April.

    July 2, 2014 2 Photos

Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
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