E.A. Sports Today

Baseball: Going … going … gone fishin’

After sweeping Cleburne County to win series, Jacksonville looks to relax at its favorite fishing hole

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — The players on Jacksonville’s baseball team like fishing almost as much as they like winning games. And because they won Friday night — twice — they’ll get a chance to enjoy their other favorite pursuit today.

When Hunter Pence played for the Phillies, one of his post-game catchphrases that got a lot of traction in Philadelphia was “Good game, let’s eat.”

He came off the field after playing a key role in a big game, did a short interview in which he uttered that line and headed straight for the post-game buffet.

The line appeared in headlines throughout the region and eventually on tee shirts.

The Golden Eagles have a similar victory cry, it seems. After they win, their reward is a day of fishing.

Where they go is a closely guarded secret, so be on the lookout today for a bunch of players in Jacksonville caps at a fishing hole near you after they swept a doubleheader from Cleburne County 4-1 and 5-2 to win the season series.

“We have a motto, ‘Let’s go fishing,'” senior outfielder/pitcher Sid Thurmond said. “We always break it down, ‘Let’s go fishing.’ We’re going fishing tomorrow.”

“We just all like going fishing,” added freshman outfielder Josh Glass. “It’s probably our team’s favorite pastime.”

It’s not certain when the tradition started, but earlier in the year coach David Deerman promised Thurmond if he got a hit to win the game he’d take them finish. Thurmond delivered, Deerman followed through on his promise, and the team caught 37 crappie and bass. Deerman and his son caught 27 of them.

“I’m like their fishing guide,” Deerman said. “They all like to challenge me, but I can outfish them all.”

The coach won’t be fishing with his players Saturday, though; he’s going turkey hunting.

The doubleheader sweep and series win helped the Golden Eagles stay within arm’s length of White Plains in what is expected to be a tight area race that will leave a good team out of the playoffs.

White Plains swept their three-game area opener with Saks earlier this week. Wildcats coach Chad Hudson watched a little of Friday’s second game.

“This was real critical,” Thurmond said. “Coach Deerman said … he wanted two games; he didn’t wanted to lose a game and go home. He wanted two games.”

The Golden Eagles used two “tremendous” pitching performances to make it happen.

Colin Casey pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 12 strikeouts in the opener. Kane Aaron and Thurmond held the Tigers to two hits in the nightcap.

Casey and Max Watson were locked in a pitchers’ duel until the Golden Eagles scored three runs in the sixth inning to erase a 1-0 deficit. They scored two runs on an error charged to Watson and another on a fielder’s choice. They added an insurance run in the seventh.

The Golden Eagles won the nightcap despite getting only three hits and committing six errors. Thurmond and Glass each drove in two runs; Glass’ two-run, opposite-field single into right in the sixth gave them some breathing room.

Glass was one of four freshmen — and several sophomores — Deerman started in the doubleheader. The others were Blake Morris, Colton Clark and Austin Lackey. Morris and Lackey had hits in the opener; Glass drove in two runs and Clark scored three in the nightcap.

“We were gritty and found a way to win, man,” Deerman said.

Perhaps the grittiest performance was turned in by Thurmond. The starter and hard-luck loser in the series opener, Thurmond was summoned in Friday’s nightcap Friday with one out in the sixth after the Tigers had just scored to make it 5-2. The first batter he faced reached on a dropped third strike, but he got out of trouble without allowing a run and then he struck out the side in order in the seventh.

“After the first game they pulled me aside and said we may need you for one or two (innings) and I said I’ve got it,” Thurmond said. “I told Kane if you go six I can do the rest. I just went out there and did it.”

And now they all can go fishing with a smile.

Alexandria 17, Westbrook Christian 6

Dalton Cobb and Dalton Warren both went 4-for-4 and Warren hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a five-RBI night.

Cobb, had a single, two doubles and a triple for the fourth-ranked Valley Cubs. Riley Shaw, Cody Dodd and Chance Williams all had two hits and Will Reaves had a double and three RBIs.

Pell City 7, Oxford 6 (8 inns.)
Pell City 6, Oxford 5

PELL CITY – The Yellow Jackets lost two one-run games and lost their area opening series after winning a one-run game in the series opener.

Pell City scored two runs in each of its last three bats in the nightcap to erase Oxford leads 2-0 and 5-2. The Panthers opened the sixth with back-to-back doubles to tie the game, then Caleb Hurt singled home the go-ahead run. Oxford went down in order in the seventh.

Jacob Sears had three RBIs for Oxford in the game.

Jake Davis’ one-out single in the eighth inning won the opener.

The Yellow Jackets used five hits, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly to fuel a four-run third inning that gave them a 6-4 lead they took into the fifth. Trey Hopper had three hits in the game for the Jackets, while Austin Bolander, Dillen Miller and Jake Cook had two apiece.


Jacksonville 4, Cleburne County 1

Jacksonville 000 003 1 — 4 4 1
Cleburne Co. 000 100 0 — 1 1 3

COLIN CASEY and Blake Morris; MAX WATSON, Damion Benefield (7) and Austin Harler. WP: Casey. LP: Watson.

Jacksonville 5, Cleburne County 2

Jacksonville 020 102 0 — 5 3 6
Cleburne Co. 000 101 0 — 2 2 0

KANE AARON, Sid Thurmond (6) and Blake Morris; DAVID JACKS, Tyler Berry and Austin Harler. WP: Aaron. LP: Jacks.

On the cover: Jacksonville coach David Deerman talks with Josh Glass after the Golden Eagles’ doubleheader sweep of Cleburne County.

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