Patriots down Oak Mountain to advance in state playoffs

Bob Jones overcame a Game 1 loss to Oak Mountain with two straight victories to advance to the second round of the Class 7A state baseball playoffs.

The eighth-ranked Patriots lost to Oak Mountain 12-3 in the first game of a doubleheader April 27 but won the nightcap 5-1 to force Game 3 the next day. Bob Jones won the series clincher 12-5.

Bob Jones held a 3-0 lead in Game 1 but allowed 12 unanswered runs. The Patriots committed five errors in the loss.

“We probably haven’t made five errors in a game all season,” Bob Jones coach Jared Smith said. “We kind of lost it for a minute. After that I just talked to them about playing just one game at a time. It’s about surviving and advancing in the playoffs.”

Bob Jones did exactly that. Caden Rose allowed one hit and one run with seven strikeouts in four innings to pick up the Game 2 win. Rose, usually a reliever, stepped in as a starter and delivered a pivotal performance.

“He’s a winner so we knew if we put the ball in his hands we’d be in good shape,” Smith said.

John Michael Riley pitched three hitless and scoreless innings with seven strikeouts in relief. Dylan Ray led Bob Jones at the plate with a home run, a single and four RBIs.

Ray and Mitchell Daly had two RBIs apiece in Game 3. Slate Alford and Colten Carver each added two hits. Rose and Daly stole two bases apiece.

The Patriots trailed 5-0 when they came to bat in the bottom of the fourth but rallied with eight runs in the bottom of the frame.

“I told them ‘give me everything you’ve got for three and a half innings,” Smith said. “If we lose we lose. Let’s empty the tank physically and mentally.”

Bob Jones scored all eight of the runs of Ole Miss commit Jackson Kimbrell.

“We prepared for him all week,” Smith said. “The kids were ready for him. They were not scared of him.”

Bob Jones (34-12) will play a doubleheader at Huntsville (24-13) on Friday in the second round. The Panthers swept Vestavia Hills in the first round. Bob Jones beat Huntsville 10-0 in the teams’ regular season meeting.

“It’s going to be a huge test for us,” Smith said. “We match up well with them but they’re playing really really well at this point in the year.”