E.A. Sports Today

Saks’ Hobbs slams Donoho

UPDATED: Junior’s first home run stakes Wildcats to big early lead; includes White Plains’ victory

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

Junior Austin Hobbs hit a second-inning grand slam and the clouds held back long enough for the Saks Wildcats to take an 11-6 victory over Donoho Tuesday night.

The slam helped the Wildcats (2-5) to bolt to an 8-0 lead and then they survived a couple of Donoho rallies at McWhorter Brock Field to hang on and pick up their second win of the season.

“I was not sure if was going to go out or not,” Hobbs said. “It felt good. It was my first home run and it helped us get the win, and that was great.”

The game started out as a bean ball contest as Donoho starter Trey Brown could not find the plate. He hit three of the first four hitters and along with Brody Johnson’s single Saks led 1-0. Brown did a marvelous job of getting out of the inning without any further damage.

But things fell apart in the second inning. Harley Burgess drilled a triple to start a rally, Joseph Duke was hit by a pitch, and then Garrett Lee and Logan Mayne were drilled moments later. This set the stage for Hobbs’s slam.

The Falcons were not ready to quit however as new coach Steve Gendron’s players fought back with six runs in the third inning. Jesse McWilliams, Justin Foster, Garrett Steed and James Montgomery pounded out base hits around three walks, an error and two hit batsmen and the Falcons were down 8-6 going to the fourth.

Saks picked up three runs in the fifth inning with Johnson’s rocket to the fence and a double by Lee as Chance Borders, Duke and Johnson all came around to score. All nine Saks starters scored at least one run in the game with Duke scoring three. The Wildcats banged out 10 hits in the game.

“The big thing about our team is that we have to learn to compete,” said Saks assistant coach Jonathan Skinner, pressed into action after head coach Wesley Ginn was called to attend a family matter. “We have been down a little the last couple of years and we are trying to change our whole approach to the game.

“We got ahead early and then we relaxed, and we cannot afford to relax and let them get back in the game. The big thing is we did not give up, and we came right back and got some runs. We have to change our mental process and learn to compete the entire game.”

Once the Wildcats rebuilt their lead, left-handed eighth-grader Jaylen Childs came on in relief and struck out five batters and kept the Falcons at bay. Childs was one of two eighth-graders Skinner called upon before going with senior Morgan Dreyer to get the final out.

Donoho (2-3) had six hits in the game and drew nine walks. They left the bases loaded three times as they just could not get a big hit when they needed it.

“We are trying to teach them how to play the game,” said Gendron, a former Mississippi State player with two years minor-league experience. “We have got a ways to go, but we left the bases loaded and put the ball in play. It has been fun.”

On the cover: Saks junior Austin Hobbs

White Plains 6, Ohatchee 1

WHITE PLAINS — Landon Price pitched six strong innings and Branson Oliver and Jarrett Webb each had two hits as the Wildcats bounced back from their loss in the County Tournament semifinals.

Price gave up three hits and struck out six in his quality start. Drew Hudson pitched the seventh and struck out two.

Oliver and Webb both went 2-for-3. Oliver stroked two doubles and Webb scored twice. Kolby Burgess added an RBI double.

Caleb Dickie had two hits and drove in Ohatchee’s only run with an RBI double.

The Wildcats (8-4) return to action Thursday with a home doubleheader against Weaver.

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