E.A. Sports Today

Oxford sports report

(UPDATED) Baseball eliminated from playoff race, golf edges Gadsden City, girls tennis suffers first loss

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The local team’s dreams of making a run in this year’s state baseball playoffs were dashed Thursday night when Oxford was slow out of the gate in a game it needed to win and the Yellow Jackets lost to Chelsea 6-1.

The victory gave Chelsea a two-game sweep of the season series and — with Pell City holding the tiebreaker over Oxford — eliminated the Jackets from advancing out of their three-team area. Chelsea and Pell City will play for Nos. 1 and 2 in the area in two weeks.

The teams were scheduled to play a second game Thursday night, but that was suspended by lightning in the bottom of the third inning with no score. Whether the game will be resumed is at the discretion of the teams.

“The game rewards you when it gets ready to; that’s baseball,” Oxford coach Wes Brooks said. “We train the same, we work the same, the offseason was the same as any other year, but some reason the game decided not to reward us tonight.”

The Jackets needed to win to square the series, but Chelsea struck first and opened a quick 5-0 lead. The Hornets’ first two batters of the game reached base and scored in the first inning and they added three more on only one hit – A.J. Jones’ opposite field solo homer – in the second.

The Hornets threatened again in the third, putting runners at second and third with one out, but Oxford pitcher Jake Cook got out of it with two pops to first. From that point Cook gave up only one run and three hits the rest of the way. He struck out seven — five in the first two innings, four in the second.

“When a team scores first you immediately want to answer back and we didn’t, and then they scored again,” Brooks said. “I thought Cook pitched OK. He was 84-86 and hit 87 once. There were some balls that were up in the zone, but for the most part he pitches well when his ball’s down in the zone. I think really one ball was left up in the zone, which we didn’t want to do, but other than that I thought he pitched well enough to win.”

The Jackets banged out nine hits in the game, but several of their good swings wound up going right to Chelsea fielders. Chance Adams, Austin Bolander, Derek Miller and Andy Hammond all had two hits apiece. Jacob Sears scored Oxford’s lone run in the fourth inning.

“The scoreboard will lie to you sometimes,” Brooks said. “We probably hit just as many balls hard as they did and there was somebody there.”

While the Jackets were eliminated from post-season consideration on this night, Brooks said it should not make a difference on how they play the rest of the year. They return to the field next week to play in Hoover’s spring break tournament, with a game against the host team early in their schedule.

“We should play the game the exact same,” he said. “That’s kind of what we preach on from Day One. It doesn’t matter if we’re losing 19-0 or winning 19-0, we’re going to sprint on and off the field, we’re going to hustle after balls, we’re going to battle at-bats, we’re going to work hard to pound the lower third of the strike zone.

“I don’t think anything should change and I hope as a coach nothing does change the way we play the game. And it’s up to me to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

GOLF: Putnam doesn’t let one bad hole get him down

OXFORD – Tyler Putnam rallied from a triple bogey on the first hole to play his final 17 in 1-over-par and help the Oxford golf team to a five-stroke victory over Gadsden City at Cider Ridge Golf Club.

The Yellow Jackets posted a team score 332 in the 18-hole match. Gadsden City shot 337. The Jackets’ previous start ended in a tie.

Putnam’s 76 was the Jackets’ low score. Joey Salonia made four birdies and shot 77.

The Jackets return to the course April 6 in the Panther Classic at Timberline GC.

TENNIS: Girls team suffers first loss in split

BIRMINGHAM — The Lady Yellow Jackets suffered their first loss of the season at Inverness.

They were steamrolled by Briarwood Christian 9-0, then returned the favor against Shades Valley, 9-0. The split left them at 7-1 on the season.

Ashleigh Goodwin had the most success among the Oxford players in the Briarwood match, winning four games in singles. No one else won more than two.

Danielle Bolton, Abbie White, Peyton McGuirk and Holly Hamlin all won 8-0 against Shade Valley.


Chelsea 6, Oxford 1

Chelsea 230 100 0 – 6 7 0
Oxford 000 100 0 – 1 9 3

JOEL CHEATWOOD and Jacob Burback; JAKE COOK and Derek Miller. HR: A.J. Jones (C). WP: Cheatwood. LP: Cook.

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