Hopwood deflates Calvary for church-league crown

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   Just like David was able to tame the lions in the den, so did Hopwood Christian in a victory over Calvary Baptist by a final of 16-6 in the Church League Championship Thursday night.
   "The pitching was great," joked Calvary pitcher Skip Hendrix, "and the rest of the team played well."
   It took nerves of steel for Hopwood to face and overcome Calvary, after seeing them devour First Freewill Baptist in the previous game of the night.
   But it didn't take Hopwood long to gain the upper hand of the hungry and brutally savage team, as quick reflexes on defense and solid hits from the offense took its toll throughout the course of the event.
   "It was a total team effort, and some people hit tonight when others didn't, but we've done this all year and it's a great team," said Hendrix.
   Calvary started off in the top of the first by grabbing two scores, with a hit to right field from Larry Treadway driving home Larry Absher and Andrew Rhinehart.
   "We hit the ball well in the first game, but in the second one our batting went to sleep on us and we didn't do as well," said Calvary manager George Young.
   Hopwood responded with three scores to lead with a one-run advantage after the first frame.
   A double from Benny Stevens brought in Craig Ingram, and a hit from Pat Gould scored Ryan Chupa and Stevens.
   Another run was added for Hopwood in the second, when a sacrifice fly by Ingram drove home Danny Hendrix.
   Calvary came away with runs in the third and fourth frames as Absher ripped a hit up the middle scoring Matt Young, and error at third base that allowed Steve Addington to come home.
   Hopwood managed two runs apiece in the third and fourth, which gave them an 8-4 lead heading into the fifth.
   Salvation was found by Hopwood in the fifth when five runs scored, with the last two coming from a home-run shot by Ingram.
   Two runs were made by Calvary in the top of the sixth, after a triple from Addington scored Wes Frazier, and a shot from Matt Cooter brought in Addington.
   "We had a good season, and when we hit the ball we did well, and when we didn't it wasn't too good," said Young.
   With strength like Sampson, Gould blasted a homer in the bottom of the sixth that nearly made it to the pearly gates of heaven and descended down into the middle of the four-lane.
   Calvary was unable to make a run in the final inning of play, as Hopwood rejoiced their efforts in mastering the Church League.
   "It's a good league and run well. Benny Duke does a great job, and so does Jimmy officiating," Hendrix said. "We really enjoy playing in it."
   Calvary Baptist 30
   First Freewill Baptist 17
   First Freewill Baptist found themselves swallowed and spit back out, as they were whaled by Calvary Baptist in a 30-17 final to make it to the Championship round.
   "We hit the ball real well and played good defense, and basically hit it where they weren't," said Calvary's Andrew Rhinehart.
   Jonah was able to survive his three-day encounter, but the same was not so for First Freewill as they were laid to rest in seven innings of play.
   Calvary struck early by getting a home-run hit from Andrew Rhinehart, that drove-in Mike McAdams and Larry Absher.
   Two scores came for First Freewill, when Lance Dugger ripped a hit up the middle to bring in Jeff Hutchins and Jerry Rouse.
   "We played horrible today, but the main thing is that we went out and had fun -- that's what it's all about," said Rouse.
   Calvary extended their lead in the second frame to 8-2 with another home-run blast coming from Rhinehart.
   Rhinehart's third homer came in the third, which drove home three more scores, followed by another home-run from Larry Treadway.
   "I just want to give thanks to God and to all of my teammates, for if it wasn't for them then we wouldn't have won anything," said Rhinehart.
   There was no walking on the water, but instead walking at the plate, as Dugger was having difficulties at the mound in a role he was not use to.
   After trailing 12-2 in the bottom of the third, First Freewill captured five-runs with a home-run shot from Hutchins that brought home Andy Curtis.
   Calvary continued to slowly pull away, as they held a seven-run advantage heading into the final frame.
   The plate was being passed around in the top of the seventh, as Calvary took up a collection of runs with nine of them crossing.
   Praying for a miracle to come in the bottom of the seventh, First Freewill could only acquire three scores with the last two coming off a double from Weston Peters, who drove in Matt Holtsclaw and Ryan Curtis.
   "The only complaint I have this season is they're trying to charge me $14 for a hat that I can't even wear because it doesn't fit," said Hutchins.