Six local baseball programs hit the diamond for the state playoffs last week. Shockingly, only one now remains. Not shocking at all is that the Commerce Tigers are still in the hunt.
Commerce Tigers @ Pelham
Commerce (19-10), ranked #10 in Class 1A Public, travels to Pelham on Thursday in the 1A Sweet 16. The Tigers seek to advance to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2015, and are enjoying their sixth straight postseason appearance.
Coach Steve Cottrell and the guys have been ridiculously good this season, highlighted by the play of junior Colby Rogers, who is batting .423 on the season with 2 HR, 22 RBI, 39 R, 19 SB, and has 6 doubles and 3 triples. He has plenty of support in the lineup around him, including power-hitting Jacob Welch (.333 avg, 4 HR, 28 RBI), Chandler Martin (.324-1-14), Kody Mintz (.385-0-13), Ethan Davis (.328-0-12), and Chase Bridges (.242-1-21).
The pitching, headlined by Nate Ray (5-4, 1 Save, 2.58 ERA, 42 K) and Tucker Maloch (7-1, 2 Saves, 2.98 ERA, 30 K) has allowed just 3.2 runs per game (earned). In tight games, Commerce has buckled down, converting all five save opportunities on the season. Rogers has also excelled in that role, going 2-2 with 2 saves and a 3.00 ERA across 18.2 innings of work, striking out 10. Hayden Hutto (3.66 ERA) and Landon Davis (0.44 ERA) have also done very well in limited action on the mound.
Commerce has won four straight to this point, and will take on a tough Pelham Hornets team (20-6) that has allowed 102 runs in total but rakes on offense with 8.8 runs/game (228 total). The Hornets are riding a 9-game win streak coming in, and are led by seniors Gunner Wisham and Cale Whigham.
In the best-of-three, the Tigers and Hornets will play twice on Thursday and game three on Friday, if necessary.