E.A. Sports Today

Edwards carries new big stick

[corner-ad id=1]Oxford Black left fielder regains his hitting stroke after favorite bat cracks during the season

Oxford Black's left fielder Talan Edwards connects on his inside-the-park home run in his team's opening-round win in the Dixie Youth AAA Rookie State Tournament.

Oxford Black’s left fielder Talan Edwards connects on his inside-the-park home run in his team’s opening-round win in the Dixie Youth AAA Rookie State Tournament.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The bond between a baseball player and his bat is a powerful thing.

It can carry him through the best of times at the plate and is the one piece of equipment he reaches for when he looks to break out of a slump. Hitters are so connected to their bats, they’ve been known to sleep with them at night.

So, you can imagine the sorrow when a favorite bat gets broken.

Talan Edwards was hitting close to .800 with his favorite Louisville Slugger, but in the run-up to Dixie Youth AAA Rookie all-star campaign he noticed his best swings weren’t producing the sharp shots they once did. Then he discovered a crack in the barrel.

For the next couple weeks he was like a minion on a mission, looking for the best bat he could find. He found one; it didn’t work. He eventually found teammate Score Bussey’s orange-barreled Easton MAKO and rediscovered his stroke.

The colorful bat is shorter and lighter – by an inch and an ounce – than his old model, but it produced a faster swing. Edwards went to the plate with it in the fifth inning of Thursday’s State Tournament opener against Brooks and hit a pitch around his eyes for a two-run inside-the-park home run that propelled his Oxford Black team to a 26-11 rout.

“I was mad that I couldn’t use it any more,” the 10-year-old said. “I used it all through the year and it was my favorite bat I ever used. It was the bat I hit the best with. I can hit with any bat, it doesn’t matter, so I just used my friend’s.”

The inside-the-park homer — a high fly that was well beyond the reach of the right-fielder and rolled to the wall — gave Oxford a 12-9 lead and was the big hit of an eventual seven-run inning.

“Equipment does matter,” Oxford Black manager Bradley Harris said. “A good hitter can hit, but a good hitter with a good bat can really hit.”
Every hitter in Oxford’s lineup scored at least one run. The team batted around in each of its last three innings, scoring 22 runs in the stretch.

Bussey and Jake Moyers both scored four runs. Trent Hopson, Logan Ford and Churchill Coates each scored three. Hopson had three hits, while Coates, Moyers and Warren (Whoa) Smith had two each.

Oxford took the lead for good with six runs in the third inning, none scoring by virtue of a hit. The hosts scored three on bases-loaded walks and one each on a double steal, wild pitch and bases-loaded hit batsman.

“We started out a little bit slow, but as we got into the game and got into a rhythm a little bit, the boys really started hitting the ball,” Harris said. “Pitching was solid.

“These boys have really put a lot of time and hard effort into what they did tonight, and the results showed.”

The victory sends Oxford Black to play Fairhope at 8 p.m. Friday on Field 2 of the Earl Martin Complex. The entire tournament features teams in the AAA, O-Zone, AA Coach Pitch and AA Machine Pitch Divisions.

Dixie Youth AAA Rookie State Tournament

Oxford Black 26, Brooks 11

Oxford Black 013 679 — 26 14
Brooks 204 320 — 11 6

WP: Evan Somers. LP: Mitchell Glover. 2B: Evan Somers (OB), Carson Harris (OB). 3B: Jake Moyers (OB). HR: Talon Edwards (OB).

You must be logged in to post a comment Login