E.A. Sports Today

4A, Area 11 showdown is set

White Plains, Jacksonville both sweep, setting up next week’s showdown for area title, playoff spots

By East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — The White Plains baseball team knew what it had to do.

After dropping its first game at Cleburne County earlier in this rainy week, the Wildcats knew they had to sweep whenever the teams played again to stay in control for a Class 4A playoff berth. Anything less, while not eliminating them, would put them in a tough spot.

They won both games Friday, taking the opener 9-6 to formally split the series and then the grabbing the nightcap 3-0 to earn the tiebreaker.

The sweep – and Jacksonville’s sweep of Saks — left the Wildcats and Golden Eagles tied at 3-1 in Class 4A Area 11, both holding tiebreakers over Cleburne County. They play each other at White Plains Tuesday and a doubleheader at Jacksonville Thursday.

Cleburne County falls to 2-2 in the area and wraps up its area schedule next week against Saks in a series that figures just as much in the mix. If Cleburne sweeps, Jacksonville and White Plains would advance with a split with the tiebreaker deciding the area winner and runner-up.

“We really didn’t have to win them both, but we absolutely had to win the first one to control our destiny,” White Plains coach Chad Hudson said. “In order to have a chance to win the area we had to win the first one. It helps us winning the second one, too.”

The Wildcats had to fight for it. They fell behind in the opener 3-0 in the first and were tied 5-5 going to the bottom of the fourth.

Caleb Morrow hit a two-out, bases-loaded double to tie the game at three and Kevin Carr followed with a two-run homer to give them the lead. Brady Padgett’s homer made it 5-4 and the Tigers tied it in the fourth at five.

Dillon Greenwood drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth with one of his three hits, and then pitched the final three innings to preserve the win for Morrow.

Freshman Andrew Cronan pitched a complete-game shutout in the tiebreaker. He gave up four hits and struck out six.

Taylor Morrow hit an RBI double, while Kolby Burgess, Greenwood and Landon Price all had two hits.

“It was a good day for us,” Hudson said. “It was one of those deals we didn’t play perfect by any means but we played a lot on guts.”

Jacksonville 12, Saks 1
Jacksonville 9, Saks 3

Collin Casey pitched a complete-game three-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the opener and got a lot of offensive support.

Austin Lackey had two hits and four RBIs and Josh Glass had three hits and three RBIs. Sid Thurmond and Evan Shook both had two hits, while Tyler Carter and Blake Morris both drove in two runs. The top five spots in the Golden Eagles’ lineup went 9-for-22 with 11 RBIs.

The Golden Eagles were in control of this one from the start. They scored three in the first, held a 6-0 lead going to the bottom of the third and scored five in the seventh.

“I thought with our pitching it was important to get an early lead,” Jacksonville coach David Deerman said. “We talked about wanting to score first and get on top and try to make them play catch-up, and we did.”

They got off to a quick start in the nightcap as well, scoring three in the first and opening a 6-1 lead after three.

Sid Thurmond, Tyler Waugh and Adam Clibrey drove in two runs apiece. Clibrey’s RBIs came on a two-run homer in the third inning.

“It does make next week big, that’s for sure,” Deerman said. “I really think White Plains has a good team; no question they’re deep on the mound and they swing it pretty good.

“But I also like the fact our kids aren’t new to this. Big series at the end are nothing new to us. It’s something we’re used to. That’s just the way it’s been for us just about every year.”

Jacksonville 12, Saks 1

Jacksonville 321 001 5 — 12 13 1
Saks 001 000 0 — 1 3 3

COLLIN CASEY and Blake Morris; J. BORDERS. M. Dreyer (6) Borders and Harley Burgess. 2B: Tyler Carter (J).

Jacksonville 9, Saks 3

Jacksonville 312 011 1 — 9 9 5
Saks 100 020 0 — 3 6 2

KANE AARON, Tyler Carter (5), Colton Clark (6) and Tyler Waugh; HARLEY BURGESS, J. Childs (4), J. Cambron (7) and Austin Elkins. 2B: Logan Mayne (S). HR: Adam Clibrey (J). WP: Aaron. LP: Burgess.

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