E.A. Sports Today

Thurmond fast & furious

UPDATED; Speedy senior scores in 10th, helps Jacksonville win twice in Weaver tournament

Wellborn's Landon Machristie delivers one of the 115 pitches he threw in nine-plus innings against Jacksonville Thursday.

Wellborn’s Landon Machristie delivers one of the 115 pitches he threw in nine-plus innings against Jacksonville Thursday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER — Although players who have chased him over the years would beg to differ, Jacksonville’s Sid Thurmond insists he isn’t fast. Quick, he’d suggest, would be a more apt description.

He was plenty fast in the tenth inning against Wellborn Thursday.

Speedy Sid scored on a close play at the plate with one out in the bottom of the 10th to give his team a 3-2 win over the Panthers in the second game of the Weaver Spring Break Baseball Tournament.

The Golden Eagles beat Weaver in the first game of the day 9-5 and Wellborn held on to beat Saks 9-8 in the third game. Two other games were scheduled.

Thurmond scored his winning run against Wellborn on a grounder to short by Austin Lackey. He got in under the throw from Brandt Denham.

“(Lackey) rolled it (and) I just used my speed as an advantage,” Thurmond said. “To me, I don’t think I’m that fast. My daddy (West Alabama assistant football coach Maxwell Thurmond) always tells me I’m quicker. I’m not fast, I’m just quick.”

Still, Thurmond figures his speed is good for “two or three” additional runs for the Golden Eagles each season, and Thursday produced one of them.

He led off the inning with a double and went to third when Josh Glass dropped a perfectly placed bunt in front of the plate with two strikes. With the Panthers playing the infield in looking for the squeeze, Lackey followed with a sharp ground to Denham.

Thurmond was off on contact. The shortstop fielded the ball cleanly and fired to the plate, but Thurmond just got in under catcher Jacob Shears’ tag.

“It’s hard to keep a guy from scoring who can really run,” Jacksonville coach David Deerman said. “In high school baseball when you’ve got a fast guy on third base, even on a ground ball, we were going. We were going to make them throw us out. Austin did a good job putting the ball in play on the ground and it was still bang-bang even with a good runner there.

“Right guy at the right time, there. He’s just a good base runner. It’s not that he’s super fast; he’s quick and he’s smart on the bases. It’s always good to put him in the leadoff hole. He gets on, it’s hard to keep him from scoring.”

Landon Machristie did something for Wellborn not many major-leaguers do anymore. He pitched all 9 1/3 innings for his team, throwing 115 pitches. He gave up 10 hits, walked one and struck out six.

He had never gone more than seven innings in any start before and by rule was coming out after the 10th if the game had been extended. After every inning Panthers coach Shane Harrell would check on his pitcher’s comfort level, and every time the big right-hander said he was fine to continue.

He was almost pulled earlier, then threw fewer than 10 pitches in the ninth and Harrell allowed him to continue. He never faced more than four batters in any inning after the fifth, when the Golden Eagles loaded the bases with one out and failed to score. Thurmond’s double leading off the tenth was only the second hit he allowed over his final five innings.

“I was really in a zone today; I felt really good, really confident up there,” Machristie said. “I was ready to throw 14 innings if they told me to because I wanted to get my team the win.”

But in the tenth he really had to bear down. Having a threat like Thurmond dancing in the corner of your eye that close to the winning run is enough to get any pitcher off his game. Machristie was well aware of the threat and tried to remain focused on doing all he could to negate it.

“I really was just trying to keep it outside,” he said. “If they get it out of the infield or anything Sid’s scoring because how quick he is.

“Of course, if it’s anybody else, it wouldn’t really have played that much a factor in my mind, but knowing he has them good wheels, it’s in the back of my mind. I tried to block it out but he’s a fast guy, so I know if they get anything in play it’s going to be a tough play at the plate.”

And it was.

Jacksonville 9, Weaver 5

The Golden Eagles scored four runs in the first and four in the seventh, then turned back a Weaver comeback bid in the bottom of the seventh.

The first four Jacksonville batters of the game all got hits off Weaver starter Jake Garrick and scored. Thurmond, who led off the game with a double, and Lackey both had two hits and two runs in the game for the Golden Eagles.

Weaver managed only one hit off Jacksonville starter Tyler Carter over the first 4 1-3 innings, but chased him with single runs in the fifth and sixth. The Bearcats then put together six straight hits in the seventh to make things interesting.

Cody Ortiz had three hits and Jake Garrick and Chris Lemon each had two for the Bearcats. Garrick had two RBIs.

Wellborn 9, Saks 8

The Panthers roared to a 9-1 lead after three innings and held on.

Brandt Denham and T.J. Salers both drilled two-run homers in the first inning to help the Panthers (6-7) erase an early 1-0 deficit. They added three more in the second without benefit of a hit. Denham had an RBI double in a two-run third.

Saks used a five-run fifth to close its deficit to 9-7. Five straight batters reached base with one out and all five scored. The Wildcats made it 9-8 in the seventh, but left the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

“We had some adversity after getting the big lead, but I’m proud of the way the boys finished to preserve the win,” Wellborn coach Shane Harrell said.


Jacksonville 9, Weaver 5

Jacksonville 400 100 4 — 9 8 4
Weaver 000 011 3 — 5 11 7

TYLER CARTER, Aaron Bragg (6) and Collin Casey; JAKE GARRICK, Cody Ortiz (6) and Deon Monroe. 2B: Sid Thurmond (J). WP: Carter. LP: Garrick.

Jacksonville 3, Wellborn 2 (10 inns.)

Wellborn 000 002 000 0 — 2 6 1
Jacksonville 011 000 000 1 — 4 9 1

LANDON MACHRISTIE and Jacob Shears; SID THURMOND, Kane Aaron (8) and Blake Morris. 2B: Jacob Shears (W), Sid Thurmond (J). WP: Aaron. LP: Machristie.

Wellborn 9, Saks 8

Saks 100 150 1 — 8 7 1
Wellborn 432 000 x — 9 8 0

WP: C.J. Smith. 2B: Brandt Denham (W). HR: Brandt Denham (W), T.J. Salers (W).

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