E.A. Sports Today

Hayes nearly perfect in Piedmont sweep

Sophomore southpaw fans nine in no-hitter, allows only fifth-inning walk

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – Sophomore left-hander Taylor Hayes fired a five-inning no-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday night to help lead Piedmont to a 6-2, 10-0 sweep of Pleasant Valley.

Hayes had a perfect game until the fifth inning when Drew Lewiski led off with a walk. Lewiski later was doubled off second base, so Hayes faced the minimum 15 batters over the five innings. He threw 63 pitches, 41 for strikes.

He struck out the first six batters he faced while his teammates were scoring eight runs on seven hits in the first two innings. He finished with seven strikeouts in the game.

”It feels real good to get the sweep; we went out and played our game and everybody backed me up in the field,” Hayes said. “Our infield practices those plays every day while taking infield.

“I try to use my fastball to set up my other pitches and get ahead in the count and then use my breaking ball to get some strikeouts.”

Hayes, who had a carry-over string of more than 30 consecutive scoreless innings broken earlier this year, is just part one part of a strong Piedmont pitching staff.

Peyton Whitten threw the first four innings in the opener to get the win and allowed a run on no hits. Tyler Lusk finished the last three allowing one run on two hits. They combined to strike out 11. Lusk threw 30 pitches, 27 for strikes.

“Peyton Whitten pitched real well in Game One and Tyler Lusk is kind of our closer,” Bulldogs coach James Blanchard said. “Taylor is our No. 2 and we will throw Bayley Blanchard on Thursday. All four of them throw really well.”

The Bulldogs’ bats, meanwhile, were booming. Piedmont opened the first game with three runs in the first and second innings and then fought off a Pleasant Valley Raider rally.

Bayley Blanchard had two hits in each game. Easton Kirk drove in four runs on the night and Cole McCord had two RBIs.

The Raiders got three hits from Nick Howard, Kris Emerson and Elijah Borders in the first game as they scratched out a couple of runs. Left fielder Hunter Beedles made two outstanding catches in the field to keep the first game close.

“We are a few games behind where we normally are, but it is what it is,” James Blanchard said. “We normally have played double of what we have played this year.

“I think we are starting to gel. We went to Gulf Shores last week and did some bonding and we did really well down there.”

The sweep leaves Piedmont 4-0 in the area and with the upper hand in the title race with Weaver remaining. Weaver and Wellborn are scheduled to start a rain-delayed series Thursday.

Piedmont 6, Pleasant Valley 2

Pleasant Valley 000 101 0 – 2 2 2
Piedmont 330 000 x – 6 7 2

R.J. SIMPSON, Caden McCurdy (3) and Drew Bonds; PEYTON WHITTEN, Tyler Lusk (5) and Derick Baer. WP: Whitten. LP: Simpson.

Piedmont 10, Pleasant Valley 0

Piedmont 530 02 — 10 10 0
Pleasant Valley 000 00 – 0 0 3

TAYLOR HAYES and Derick Baer; ELIJAH BORDERS and Drew Bonds. 2B: Taylor Hayes (P), Easton Kirk (P). WP: Hayes. LP: Borders.

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