But the effort came up short Tuesday, as Alexandria saw its season end 4-3. Alexandria split two games in the best-of-three series Friday, falling to Reed in the opener.
“I had a pretty good idea they were going to throw him, so I told the kids we needed to go up there and battle,” Alexandria coach Andy Shaw said. “We worked on our approach a little more and got better with it. He throws the ball hard, so we wanted to spread out and take it the other way.”
Reed, a Vanderbilt commitment, pitched all seven innings Tuesday, striking out seven. The Valley Cubs (26-13) tagged him for only four innings, but Alexandria made it count on the base paths.
Ardmore took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as the visiting team before Justice Owens walked to start the bottom half. Jake Whiting doubled two batters later to score the speedy senior, tying the game.
The same scenario took place in the third inning after Ardmore had taken a 2-1 lead. Owens singled and was moved to second on a bunt by Ethan Curvin before Whiting scored him with a single.
“He just saw a fastball away and hit a good double, then hit a good hard single away,” Shaw said. “He did a great job.”
But while Whiting did it at the plate, it was Curvin that held Alexandria in the game with his performance on the mound.
The junior worked 6 1/3 innings, only allowing six hits, four runs (two earned) while striking out seven batters.
“We couldn’t have asked more for what Ethan did,” Shaw said. “They just got some big hits late. Ethan did all he could.”
And in the bottom of the fifth inning when Cole Burgess pinch-ran for Curvin after the pitcher was walked, it looked like he may get the win. After Whiting was hit by a pitch, the two advanced to second and third on a passed ball.
Logan Doss hit a soft roller to the Reed, who fell on the swamp-like field, allowing Burgess to score.
But with the 3-2 lead, Alexandria’s hopes fell apart in the seventh inning. As fate would have it, Reed was the batter who delivered the biggest hit.
Reed’s at-bat came after Ben Hargrove hit a single to tie the game with one out. Reed blooped a ball over second base with runners on the corners. Adam Clark scored what would be the winning run.
“We got a jam shot on him, threw a great pitch and he just looped one over,” Shaw said. “It was a great pitch, but there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s just the way baseball is.”
Alexandria loses seven seniors -- Tanner Wells, Owens, Colton Bundrum, Whiting, Dalton Fisher, Evan Farlow, Doss, Dylan Hollingsworth and Johnny Watts -- to graduation, but Shaw said the underclassmen “better be ready” to pick up next season what the Valley Cubs are losing.
“They have to go out and work hard and carry on a tradition. They’re Alexandria kids so they’re always going to work hard,” he said. “This year’s group kept it going out here for the younger kids to see. Right now it doesn’t feel worth a flip, but I’m proud of them.”
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.