E.A. Sports Today

White Plains, Piedmont complete area sweeps

Piedmont gets two more strong pitching performances; White Plains gets it done with offense

White Plains left-hander Kevin Carr warms up in the bullpen prior to his second-game start against Saks.

White Plains left-hander Kevin Carr warms up in the bullpen prior to his second-game start against Saks.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

White Plains baseball coach Chad Hudson marched out a luxury to the mound in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Saks he hasn’t had in a while.

A left-handed pitcher.

The veteran coach sent Kevin Carr to the hill looking to complete a series sweep of the county’s other Wildcats. Carr pitched four innings in the spot start and White Plains completed that sweep — both in the twinbill and the Class 4A Area 11 series — 12-5.

It won Wednesday’s first game 14-3.

In Hudson’s 17 years as a head coach, a southpaw on his pitching staff has been as rare as a triple play, so having a left-hander is all right. He has had a few, but never one at White Plains. The last good one he can remember at his disposal was Drew Smith when he was at Saks.

This is Hudson’s ninth year at White Plains.

“It’s obviously unusual,” he said. “Throughout my career, we’ve not had many lefties. We’re glad to have one, and we’re glad to have the one we have.”

It’s not that Hudson took any left-handed thrower and made him a pitcher because he was missing that element in his rotation. Carr pitched in relief last season for Donoho before returning to the Wildcats.

He drew the second-game start Wednesday to gain more experience; he gave up three runs and struck out four. Andrew Norred pitched the final three innings.

“We don’t need him to be one of our best — we’ve got area starters and we’ve got some good relievers — we just need him to help us,” Hudson said.

Having a left-hander in the rotation does a lot of things for the Wildcats (14-5). It levels the field when facing a left-handed hitter and it also slows down an opponent’s running game.

“It’s not an advantage we’ve had in the past, so it’s good to have,” Hudson said.

Carr said his unique situation brings him “a lot of confidence” when he steps on the mound.

“I think it’s pretty special,” he said. “I feel comfortable having the pressure on me having to get out of (a tight situation).”

When Carr’s not pitching, he’s patrolling the Wildcats’ outfield. He reached base all four times he batted in the first game.

White Plains broke open the first game with a 10-run fourth inning. The first eight of the 14 batters in the inning reached base and scored. Jentre Smith had two hits in the inning, including a two-run single that made it 12-1.

Dillon Greenwood went 3-for-4, winning pitcher Caleb Morrow had two hits and Jarrett Webb drove in three runs.

“We’re seining the bats,” Hudson said. “Both (Tuesday) night at our place and out here today, they threw strikes. (First-game Saks starter Joseph) Duke’s a good pitcher, we knew that, and the kid yesterday (Harley Burgess) was a really good freshman.

“They didn’t walk many, they walked some, but more than anything we’re swinging the bat and that was good to see because this weekend we didn’t. It was good to come back and swing the bats.”

Throwing on short rest, Morrow struck out four of the first five batters he faced and had six strikeouts in the game. Jalen Borders had two of Saks’ five hits.

In an area so strong that a good team likely will miss the state playoffs, getting off to a good start was paramount. Jacksonville and Cleburne County continue their series with a doubleheader Thursday after a great pitchers duel Tuesday; Golden Eagles head coach David Deerman was in the stands here Wednesday.

“In baseball there’s no tournament; you really have six games that determine your season,” Hudson said. “So to start off 2-0, regardless of who it was against, was enormous. It’s a relief, to be honest.”

Piedmont 7-12, Wellborn 0-1

PIEDMONT – The Bulldogs completed their series sweep with two outstanding pitching performances.

Taylor Hayes and Tyler Lusk combined for a four-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts in the opener, while Bayley Blanchard gave up one run and two hits in the five-inning nightcap.

The Bulldogs broke open the nightcap with an eight-run fourth inning. They sent 13 batters to the plate, taking advantage of five hits and three Wellborn errors.

Blanchard and Cale McCord both had two hits in the nightcap and Darnell Jackson drove in three runs.

In the opener, Lusk went 3-for-3 and struck out Hunter Jones went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Hayes threw 73 pitches in the first six innings, 54 for strikes, allowing three hits and striking out nine. Lusk gave up a hit in the seventh, but struck out the side.


White Plains 14, Saks 3

White Plains 202 (10)0 — 14 13 2
Saks 010 20 — 3 5 3

CALEB MORROW, Taylor Morrow (5) and Jarrett Webb, Jake Spivey (5); JOSEPH DUKE, Morgan Dryer (4) and Austin Elkins. WP: C. Morrow. LP: Duke.

Piedmont 7, Wellborn 0

Wellborn 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
Piedmont 034 000 x — 7 9 0

LANDON MACHRISTIE and Jacob Shears; TAYLOR HAYES, Tyler Lusk (7) and Easton Kirk. 2B: Landon Machristie (W), Brandt Denham (W). WP: Hayes. LP: Machristie.

Piedmont 12, Wellborn 1

Wellborn 000 10 — 1 2 2
Piedmont 022 8x — 12 9 0

JEREMIAH FARMER, Jaylin Kelley (3), Brandt Denham (4); BAYLEY BLANCHARD and Easton Kirk. 2B: Landon Machristie (W), Easton Kirk (P), Derick Baer (P). WP: Blanchard. LP: Farmer.

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