Whether it was pitching, hitting, fielding or especially scoring, the Yellow Jackets had the better end. By the final out, it read on the scoreboard, as well.
Glencoe beat the Wildcats 8-0 in the deciding game of their Class 3A first-round playoff series. The victory gave Glencoe the series two games to one, and the Yellow Jackets (16-5) now will face Piedmont on Friday and Saturday in another best-of-three showdown.
White Plains (19-13) couldn’t solve Glencoe pitcher Dalton Roberts, who allowed only four hits.
“It was a freshman pitcher for them and hats off to him,” White Plains coach Chad Hudson said. “He threw great and threw strikes all game while keeping us off balance. But I felt like the biggest difference in the series was defense.”
When Roberts wasn’t sitting down one of the seven batters he struck out, he relied on his defense to make plays. Although the Yellow Jackets committed an error, they also turned two double plays to get Roberts out of jams.
“The problem for us was it should have been 4-0 instead of 8-0,” Hudson said. “Then those late-inning chances become a little tenser for the other team with only a four-run lead.
“We felt like we needed to get into the later innings with a chance.”
Runs came early and often for Glencoe, which scored three times in the first inning. Roberts had a lead-off double, and two batters later Daniel Otwell slugged a home run. The next batter, Will Parker, ripped a homer, too. Glencoe added three more in the third inning on a walk, two singles and an error.
The six runs came before White Plains even had a hit. When the Wildcats got their bats started, they created opportunities for a comeback.
Zach Cunningham led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single. He took second on a wild pitch and third on a single by Miles Masters with one out.
But the Wildcats came up empty.
The same was the case in the fifth inning when Dylan Randall reached on an error and took second on a balk. A single by Jonathan Bradshaw put Randall on third with one out. But a double play ended the inning. Cunningham led off the sixth inning with a single before reaching third on a double play. He wound up stranded 90 feet from home.
“We gave ourselves chances later in the game and had some good at-bats, but we had horrible at-bats the first time through the order,” Hudson said. “We struck out a lot today.”
One of the lone bright spots on the day for White Plains was the pitching of Cunningham and Dillon Greenwood. Despite giving up a two-run home run to Otwell in the fourth inning, Cunningham allowed only three hits and struck out five over three innings. Greenwood allowed one hit over the final two innings.
“Greenwood came in and did a really good job,” Hudson said. “Zach let up a few hits, but pitched well. We wanted to wait to go him until the fifth, but we didn’t think we could wait any longer.
“We could have quit, but we competed and gave ourselves a chance in each of the last three innings to score. We just got beat by a better team today.”
The standout example of not giving up came when White Plains was down to its final out.
After Randall walked, Bradshaw hit a routine ground ball to the second baseman. Rather than jogging to first, accepting defeat and the end of the season, the senior beat it out. It didn’t win the game, but it showed a lot of heart.
“That’s the way he’s always played,” Hudson said. “He plays extremely hard between the lines. We have four seniors that have played in 20 playoff games for us and we’ll miss them.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star