E.A. Sports Today

Jackets keep finding a way

Oxford sweeps extra-inning pair, remains unbeaten in new park; Piedmont splits DH with Wellborn, wins series; J’ville splits, Cubs win

Oxford's Caden Higgins runs out a close play at first base against White Plains. Below, Jackets first baseman Brennan McCullough keeps Etowah's Cody Taylor close in the first inning of their nightcap. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Oxford’s Caden Higgins runs out a close play at first base against White Plains. Below, Jackets first baseman Brennan McCullough keeps Etowah’s Cody Taylor close in the first inning of their nightcap. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The way Oxford’s baseball team is winning games to keep its streak alive in the new Choccolocco Park now is beyond uncanny. It’s bordering on the magical.

The 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets won two more games in their new home Friday, beating White Plains 5-4 and Etowah 4-3, both coming from behind and both in eight innings.

They are now 10-0 in Choccolocco Park with many of the victories coming in just as dramatic fashion as the latest against some pretty good teams.

“Finishing games is probably the most important stat in all of sports,” Jackets coach Wes Brooks said. “Our guys have definitely come through in the clutch this year, so if this team had a nickname it definitely would be ‘clutch.’”

The Jackets tied the White Plains game on Jacob Sears’ line single in the fifth and won it on Caden Higgins’ no-out RBI single in the eighth. They tied the Etowah game on Higgins’ RBI single in the seventh and won with none out in the eighth when Chance Adams was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

White Plains took a 4-2 lead in the opener with a four-run outburst in the third highlighted by Andrew Norred’s two-run double. Andrew Cronan and Jake Spivey also singled home runs in the inning.

Etowah scored single runs in each of the first three innings to take a 3-2 lead. County Tournament MVP Andy Hammond came in the next inning for Oxford and pitched five innings of shutout relief to get the win. Hammond gave up three hits and struck out nine.

Piedmont 14, Wellborn 1
Wellborn 5, Piedmont 4

Seven straight batters reached base and drove in runs without benefit of a hit and nine straight batters knocked in runs in a 10-run second inning that powered the Bulldogs to their first-game win that won the area series.

Blake Hanson had three RBIs in the nightcap to give Wellborn a split of the doubleheader, but the area standings were already set.

The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into the second inning of the opener. They loaded bases and then pushed runs home with four walks, two hit batsmen, an error, a sacrifice fly and an RBI double.

“That’s what we worked on this week, working the count,” Piedmont coach James Blanchard said. “A lot of that is we’re not swinging at bad pitches. There was a stretch there we weren’t playing good and it’s because we were swinging at bad pitches. We just worked on hitting good pitches.”

Bayley Blanchard and Taylor Hayes both had two hits in the game, Easton Kirk drove in three runs and winning pitcher Caleb Morrow and Mason Mohon both had two RBIs.

The Bulldogs fell back into some bad habits in the nightcap and it didn’t help that they fell behind 4-0 in the first and 5-0 after three innings.

Hanson had a two-run single in the first and an RBI single in the third. Hayes and Kirk each had two RBIs as Piedmont closed the gap to 5-4 in the sixth.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but couldn’t get the runs home. They stranded 11 runners in the game.

Jacksonville 8, Randolph County 5
Randolph County 5, Jacksonville 4

JACKSONVILLE – Hunter Ray scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and Christian Benefield worked out of a jam in the bottom of the inning to earn Randolph County a split.

Ray singled to open the inning and moved around the bases on a couple sacrifice bunts. Blake Morris led off the home eighth with a double, but was left at third when the game ended.

The Golden Eagles tied the game in the home seventh when Brant Deerman scored on a one-out infield error and had the potential winning run cut down at the plate thrown out at the plate for the last out of the inning.

Morris, Colton Clark and Austin Lackey all had two hits for Jacksonville.

In the opener, the Golden Eagles scored two runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good. Josh Glass hit a game-tying RBI single and scored the go-ahead run on an error.

Makyah Curry went 3-for-4 with two doubles, Clark and Glass both had two hits, and Lackey and Morris each drove in two runs. The top of Jacksonville’s lineup – Clark, Glass and Curry – were a combined 7-for-11 with two RBIs in the game.

Alexandria 6, Gadsden City 3

The Valley Cubs pounded 11 hits in the game. Austin Goode, one of four pitchers Alexandria used in the game, was the winning pitcher.



Oxford 5, White Plains 4
White Plains 004 000 00 – 4 5 8
Oxford 111 010 01 – 5 10 0

WP: Heyden Green. LP: Tucker Harrell. 2B: Andrew Norred (W).

Oxford 4, Etowah 3
Etowah 111 000 00 – 3 8 2
Oxford 110 000 11 – 4 7 3

WP: Andy Hammond. LP: Jacob Johnson. 2B: Bryant West (E), Eli Dunn (E), Chris Freeman (E).

Piedmont 14, Wellborn 1
Piedmont 2(10)0 20 – 14 8 1
Wellborn 001 00 – 1 4 1

WP: Caleb Morrow. LP: Ethan Beadles. 2B: Taylor Hayes (P), Easton Kirk (P), Brant Denham (W), Kane Pitts (W).

Wellborn 5, Piedmont 4
Piedmont 000 022 0 – 4 6 3
Wellborn 401 000 x – 5 5 0

WP: Brant Denham. LP: Bailey Graves. 2B: Taylor Hayes (P), Easton Kirk (P), Mason Mohon (P), Jacob Shears (W).

Jacksonville 8, Randolph County 5
Randolph County 200 200 1 – 5 7 4
Jacksonville 201 203 x – 8 10 7

Randolph County 5, Jacksonville 4
Randolph County 000 002 21 – 5 8 2
Jacksonville 000 121 10 – 4 8 4

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