E.A. Sports Today

Morrow delivers for Wildcats

White Plains junior solid in complete game; Oxford, J’ville staffs have gems

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Caleb Morrow was more anxious than nervous, but he delivered when his team needed him most.

The White Plains junior right-hander was extended to his longest outing since at least last summer Saturday when beat Jacksonville 2-1 with a seven-inning complete game in the Calhoun County Tournament at Henry Farm Park.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats now play top-seeded Oxford in Monday’s 7 p.m. semifinal at Alexandria.

“I’ve never been on varsity with extended time that much,” Morrow said. “I wouldn’t say (I was) nervous, but I was anxious. After the second inning I was good.”

Morrow was projected to be a starter for the Wildcats this season and had been throwing a starter’s number of pitches in practice and scrimmages. He pitched into a fourth inning of relief earlier this season against Sardis.

Against Jacksonville, a team that normally hits well, he scattered four hits, struck out six and walked one. He pitched out of a jam in the second inning and the run he gave up in the third the Golden Eagles scored without benefit of a hit.

The Wildcats gave him the lead in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk and an RBI infield single by Dillon Greenwood.

Morrow’s pitch count was at such a comfortable level going to the seventh inning, coach Chad Hudson “kind of felt he earned the right” to finish the game.

“He was the MVP,” Hudson said. “It was one of those deals we needed an outing like that from Caleb because we didn’t swing it real good.”

The gem was part of a dazzling day of pitching on the Jacksonville side of the bracket.

In addition to Morrow, Jacksonville’s Aaron Bragg fashioned a five-inning perfect game in a 12-0 win over Jacksonville Christian; Oxford’s Andy Hammond and Jacob Sears combined to no-hit Weaver, 12-0; and White Plains’ Branson Oliver and two relievers combined to one-hit Anniston 21-0.

Oxford 12, Weaver 0

In the first outings of the year for both pitchers, Andy Hammond breezed through four innings without giving up a hit and hard-throwing Jacob Sears struck out the side in the fifth after walking his first hitter on four pitches to complete the no-hitter.

Hammond struck out eight. He allowed only two base runners on a third-inning walk and a fourth-inning infield error. Second baseman Trey Hopper preserved the no-hitter with a sliding catch of Deon Monroe’s soft liner in the second.

The Yellow Jackets (2-2) batted around in the first and fourth innings and all nine hitters in the lineup reached base at least twice. Leadoff man Chance Adams reach base all four times he came to the plate. Adams and Dillen Miller each two hits.

They exploited some loose Weaver defense to score four runs in the first inning off Jake Garrick. The Jackets forced the action by stealing several bases.

“I thought team-wise, the energy level and the tempo of our team, I thought we competed against the game,” Brooks said. “I don’t think we competed in whoever was in the first-base dugout. I thought they were committed to the process of playing against the game of baseball and committing to how good as we today compared to yesterday.”

Garrick was making his second appearance of the day. He came into the Bearcats’ first-round game against Saks with no outs and bases loaded and struck out the side with no further damage; his first seven pitches were strikes.

“He’s the guy who gives us the best chance to win the game,” Weaver coach David Beegle said.

Jacksonville 12, JCA 0

Aaron Bragg was making his first start of the season and set down the 15 Thunder batters he faced for the first perfect game in coach David Deerman’s 10-year tenure with the program.

The Thunder hit several balls sharply, but none fell in safely. Perhaps the best threat to the gem was a fly ball leftfielder Tyler Carter reached over his head to grab. Bragg struck out four. He threw 44 pitches.

“He stayed ahead in all the counts and threw strikes and that’s what we told him to do,” Golden Eagles coach David Deerman said. “We said go in and throw strikes and if they hit it, they do, and that’s what he did.”

Sid Thurmond went 3-for-3 with three RBIs to lead the Golden Eagles’ hit parade

White Plains 21, Anniston 0

Kevin Carr went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Andrew Cronan went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Jarrett Webb hit a two-run double in the first inning to get it all started.

Branson Oliver gave up one hit and struck out five in three innings, while Jackson Wilkinson and Taylor Morrow each threw one inning of scoreless relief behind him.



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