E.A. Sports Today

Falcons not meek in playoff opener

McWilliams, Holmes pitch complete-game victories as Donoho wins first playoff series

By East Alabama Sports Today

You know it’s a big deal when the fans come up to you and say you’ve made history.

Donoho came through with what is believed to be the first opening-round series win in school history Saturday when it swept Meek 9-3 and 3-2 in the Class 1A state baseball playoffs.

The Falcons (8-6) now face third-ranked Decatur Heritage in Round 2.

“That’s what everybody told me; a lot of people were telling me, ‘Congratulations, we’re making history,” first-year Donoho coach Steve Gendron said. “Definitely none of the seniors (have done it) and they’ve been on varsity six years and they don’t remember anybody making it either.

“It’s huge for my seniors because they are finally getting a chance to advance. It’s big for my young guys – the seventh, eighth and ninth graders – to understand what post-season baseball is about. And it’s good for the school. It raises the level of expectations of the baseball program. We’ve got a goal for next year now.”

Jesse McWilliams and Bret Holmes both pitched complete-game victories. McWilliams struck out seven in the opener and Holmes struck out five in the nightcap.

The Falcons’ first playoff series under Gendron got off to a rousing start as they scored six runs in the first inning.

After the first out, Parker Morgan and Dalten Martin ripped back-to-back doubles and eight straight Falcons reached base; in all, 11 batters came to the plate in the inning. Holmes had a two-run single in the inning; he was 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the game.

“We’re a good hitting team when we’re aggressive early in the count,” Gendron said. “After we got those (eight) base runners in a row I felt like our team was winning against this team. I could see some of our guys starting to believe it.”

The Falcons rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to win the nightcap. Justin Foster’s RBI single and Morgan’s sacrifice fly put them ahead 2-1 in the fourth. Trey Brown’s RBI single in the fourth accounted for their other run sending the Falcons into uncharted territory.

“We have a lot of work to do this week,” Gendron said. “We made some mistakes we don’t need to make again.”

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