In a duel for the Class 6A, Area 15 championship in Scottsboro on Thursday, Fort Payne clutched a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs in play as Scottsboro’s Ethan Wininger doubled to left field. 

Caleb Stiefel tracked down the ball and relayed it to second baseman Troy McCormick in a backup position. McCormick fired the ball to home, where catcher J.D. Blalock applied the tag as Waylon Farr slid across the plate, recording the game’s final out and granting Fort Payne its first area title since 2012.

The loss eliminated rival Scottsboro (16-16) from playoff contention.

Fort Payne’s Brody Gifford pitched a complete game after working through an injury to his throwing arm. He tossed five shutout innings, allowing eight hits with three strikeouts and walks. His sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning allowed Connor Cash to plate the go-ahead run.

Fort Payne (16-14) struck first in the opening inning. Cooper Harcrow scored on a wild pitch before Scottsboro recorded a third out.

The home team responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of a Connor McLaughlin single to right field.

Fort Payne finished the game on the low end of a four-run deficit.

Scottsboro’s Trey Cooper retired seven batters and walked none in his complete-game performance on the mound.

In Game 1 of the Fort Payne-Scottsboro series at Fort Payne High School on Tuesday, Sawyer Burt doubled in a pair of runs during a four-run, sixth-inning scoring spurt that lifted Fort Payne to a 5-3 victory.

Trailing 3-1 with one out in play in the bottom of the sixth inning, Burt doubled on a line drive to left field, allowing Harcrow and Will Green to score and knot the game at 3.

Burt touched home plate after a McCormick single to right field, giving Fort Payne the go-ahead 4-3 edge. McCormick plated a run from third base before Scottsboro recorded a third out.

Alex Akins picked up the win with an inning in relief, allowing no hits or runs while striking out one and walking one. Dalton Gray tossed six innings, surrendering six hits for three runs with three strikeouts and one walk.

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