The Enterprise Wildcats (17-20) closed out the 2019 baseball season with a pair of losses to the Auburn Tigers in the first round of the Class 7A Playoffs on Friday, April 26.
In game one, Enterprise lost a nail-biter 3-2 before Auburn closed things out with a 13-2 defeat of the Wildcats.
In game one, Auburn took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and then both teams remained scoreless until the fifth inning.
In the top of the fifth, Connor Couch hit a line drive into center field that drove both Dalton Price and Connor Purvis home to give Enterprise a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately for Enterprise, Auburn responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to regain the lead 3-2. Again both teams remained scoreless for the remainder of the game.
“We had our chances in game one,” Enterprise coach Lee Hyde said. “We had a chance to extend the lead when we were up 2-1 in the fifth but we couldn’t get that last run across.
“We had a couple of mistakes there at the end that bit us, too. So, we kind of left game one thinking we let one slip away.”
Couch led Enterprise at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Tyler Byrd went 2-for-2 from the plate. Grant Thornton, Lance Levine and Purvis each had a hit. Price and Purvis scored Enterprise’s runs.
McCain Sieving pitched all six innings and struck out two batters, while giving up five hits and three runs. Thornton also earned a triple play defensively.
In game two, things went bad quickly for the Wildcats. Auburn scored 10 runs in the second inning and never looked back from there.
Auburn scored another three runs in the top of the fourth inning to stretch its lead to 13-0. Finally, Enterprise got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, but after going scoreless in the fifth inning the game was called and the Wildcats’ season came to an end.
“Game two we just hit that bad inning and couldn’t throw it over the plate it seemed like,” Hyde said. “They hit a big grand slam on us and kind of put it out of reach. It was somewhat self inflicted but Auburn definitely took advantage of our mistakes for sure.”
Enterprise struggled mightily at the plate in game two getting on base a total of five times, with all five of those coming via walks. The Wildcats couldn’t manage a single hit in the loss.
Gabe Anderson and Levine each scored one run, both coming on Auburn errors.
Ben Bailey pitched two and 1/3 innings and gave up six hits and three runs. Cooper Charlton pitched one and 1/3 innings and allowed two hits with five runs while striking out one batter.
Thornton gave up one hit and had one strikeout in one inning pitched. Drew Williams pitched 1/3 of an inning and gave up one hit with five runs.
Despite the frustrating finish, Hyde was pleased with the way his team progressed during the season.
“I was pleased with the fact that I thought we improved week to week,” Hyde said. “We kind of struggled out of the gate playing some guys with very little varsity experience in some places.
“I felt like Spring Break was a turning point for us going down to McGill and playing well and taking some momentum into the series with Prattville.”
The Wildcats came into 2019 with little experience on the mound and leave 2019 with pitching being an advantage going into next season.
“We talked about that on the bus ride home on Friday about how much better we would be on the mound (next season) with the amount of guys we have coming back from this team,” Hyde said. “We feel like that will be a strength for us next year.”