BOAZ — Snead State Community College’s baseball team ended its 2023 campaign with a third-place finish in the ACCC Baseball Championship Tournament held May 10-15 in Oxford, falling just short of a return to the title game.
The Parsons (34-25, 17-15) made an incredible run, finishing the tournament 4-2 – that’s six nine-inning games over a four-day span.
As No. 4 seed out of the ACCC North, Snead State picked up its first win of the tournament on May 11 against Lurleen B. Wallace with a 9-7 victory in a single-elimination, play-in game, which allowed them to advance to the double-elimination side of the bracket.
Mason Cooper and Cason Firth led the Parsons, each batting 2-for-5 and recording one RBI apiece. Hayden Stancil and Alex Johnson led the team with two RBIs apiece.
On the mound, starter Jeb Bartle and relievers Cody Williams and Evan Steckmesser combined for eight strikeouts, seven hits and six earned runs allowed over nine innings to pick up the win.
In their second game of the tournament, the Parsons fell to Wallace State-Dothan 10-4. Snead State combined for eight hits, led by two from right fielder Carter Frederick. Trey Higgins led all Parson batters with two RBIs.
Snead State pitchers Cody King, William Tarpley and Jarett Mason combined for four strikeouts to 14 hits and seven earned runs in the loss.
However, the Parsons rallied to win three straight games to advance to the semifinals, starting with a 3-1 victory over Coastal Alabama-North on May 12.
Brock Hill pitched a complete game for the Parsons, allowing just five hits and one earned run over nine innings. He struck out eight Coastal batters.
Higgins helped power the Parsons to the next round with a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give Snead State a 3-1 advantage.
On Saturday, Snead State picked up a pair of victories, including an 11-6 win over rival Wallace State-Hanceville and a historic, comeback, walk-off win against Lawson State, 15-14.
Against Wallace State-Hanceville, the Parsons combined for 15 hits as a team. Shortstop Brooks Hardie hit a grand slam in the second inning to drive in four runs. Higgins followed with a grand slam of his own in the fourth inning.
Pitchers Baker Green, Jase Gray and Steckmesser combined to strike out seven batters and only allow five earned runs on 13 hits.
The Parsons rallied from a 10-0 deficit to take down Lawson State, and did so on just seven hits, including a walk-off single by Luke McNeill with the bases loaded.
Snead State outscored Lawson State 15-4 in the final five and a half innings. Frederick, Stancil, Coby Wilkerson and Hardie each accounted for two RBIs. Darren Cho and Stancil led the team with two hits apiece.
Frederick, Williams, Gray, Mason, Stancil and Bartle combined for 12 strikeouts on the mound while allowing 14 hits and 14 earned runs.
On championship Sunday, the Parsons fell just short of a return to the title game, falling 10-3 to Wallace State-Dothan in a semifinals rematch.
Frederick, Hardie and Higgins each launched solo home runs to give the Parsons their three runs. On the mound, starter Tarpley and relievers Johnson, Fisher Moss and Brayden Moore allowed a total of 10 earned runs on 17 hits. Combined, Tarpley and Moss struck out six batters.
At the conclusion of the tournament May 14, Snead State’s Mason Cooper and Brock Hill were named to the All-ACCC Tournament Team. Before the tournament began, Carter Frederick was recognized as the 2023 ACCC North Player of the Year.
Snead State ended the year winning 16 out of their last 20 games to get 34 total wins on the season.
Parsons head coach Casey Underwood called this team “a special group.”
“I am so proud of how this team played for each other and for the name on the front of the shirt,” Underwood said.
“As a coach, I am very thankful for this sophomore group, not only for all the work that they put in on the field, but this team finished with a 3.54 GPA – the highest we have ever had in the baseball program. And all of our sophomores graduated for the seventh year in a row.”
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