E.A. Sports Today

Syer slams Pell City

Freshman’s first varsity homer sends Oxford to victory in its area opener

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Brody Syer won’t ever forget his first varsity home run. It couldn’t have been much bigger.

The freshman outfielder drilled a grand slam in the bottom of sixth inning Tuesday night to give Oxford the lead and the cushion it needed to beat Pell City 10-9 in a marathon of an area opener for both Class 6A teams.

The seven-inning game at Bud McCarty Field took more than three hours to play. In addition to the 19 runs the teams scored, they combined for 14 hits, 17 walks, three hit batsmen and five errors.

Syer’s sixth-stanza slam gave the Yellow Jackets a 10-7 lead and capped their second rally of the game. The Panthers, who led 3-0 early in the game, had just taken a 7-6 lead in the top of the inning.

“Our coaches do a great job of looking at the signs,” Syer said. “They just so happened to see it and read fastball and they did a great job of getting it to me.

“Our coaches stress hitting doubles, so I was pushing a double. Then I heard everybody go crazy and I was like ‘it’s out.’ I just can’t believe it. There was a lot of energy in our dugout. My teammates were behind me that at-bat and it felt pretty good knowing that.”

The thing that impressed Oxford coach Wes Brooks is Syer’s at-bats got better as the game went on.

The right fielder walked and scored in a five-run second inning that gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead, then he struck out and bounced to short in his plate appearances before the slam.

He hit a 2-2, two-out fastball from Miles Masters that just cleared the 300-foot right field fence; it was the Jackets’ only hit of the inning. They loaded the bases in front of him with two walks and a hit batsman.

“I see it as a sign of growth and maturity; he got better as the game went on,” Brooks said. “He’s got a long way to go – of course, all freshmen do – but there are some times he does some great things.”

The Panthers (9-9) scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Jake Cook, who had been in the game since the fifth, slammed the door without further damage.

“I told (Cook) before the game you were going to be a major factor in this game,” Brooks said. “I’m just proud for him. He hadn’t had the best start of the season yet, but I told him in the locker room you were going to have a major impact in this game and you’ve got to know it’s going to come down to you on the mound getting their guy out.”

The teams complete the series with a doubleheader Friday in Pell City.

Oxford 10, Pell City 9

Pell City 211 012 2 — 9 8 1
Oxford 050 104 x — 10 6 4

Bailey Horton, Chase Robinson, MILES MASTERS (6) and Daniel Holmes; Dillen Miller, JAKE COOK (5) and Derek Miller. 3B: Robinson (P). HR: Brody Syer (O). WP: Cook. LP: Masters.

White Plains 9, Saks 2

WHITE PLAINS – Landon Price scattered six hits over seven innings and ripped an RBI double among his two hits as White Plains won the area opener for both baseball teams.

Price allowed one earned run and struck out six.

Caleb Morrow led a 14-hit White Plains assault by going 3-for-3 with three runs and a pair of stolen bases. Kevin Carr, Dillon Greenwood and Drew Hudson all banged two hits for the Wildcats (12-5). Harley Burgess had two hits for Saks.

Greenwood knocked in two runs, while Hudson drove in another. Harley Burgess had two hits for Saks.

The teams return to action Wednesday for a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Saks.

Cleburne County 5, Jacksonville 0

JACKSONVILLE – Brady Padgett pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout and struck out 11 and the Tigers scored all their runs in the sixth inning to win this area opener.

Padgett and Jacksonville’s Sid Thurmond were locked in a pitchers’ duel until the sixth.

The Tigers loaded the bases and scored their first run on an infield error and second on a passed ball. Tyler Berry knocked in two runs with a single and Damion Benefield closed the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

Baseball coaches, to report your game results or suggest potential story ideas to the writers of East Alabama Sports Today, text 256-239-6715 or email musky@wrightmediacorp.com. East Alabama Sports Today is a free website dedicated to quality coverage of local sports in and around Calhoun County.

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