E.A. Sports Today

Oxford extends streak

Yellow Jackets make it 20 in a row with two wins in Buccaneer Classic; Weaver pitchers throw gem

Monday’s scores
Oxford 9, Montgomery Central 6
Oxford 13, Scottsboro 1
Gulf Shores 1, Pleasant Valley 0
Weaver 9, Greenville 0
Gardendale 6, Cleburne County 0

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HOOVER – Wes Brooks made the slow walk to the mound in the seventh inning at a time when the momentum of the game was teetering. Pitcher Hayden Green wasn’t sure what was going to happen but sure hoped he’d get to stay in the game.

Truth be told, the coach’s visit was more for the benefit of the defense than the Oxford sophomore on the mound.

The Yellow Jackets extended their winning streak to 19 games Monday with a 9-6 victory over Montgomery Central (Tenn.) in the Buccaneer Classic at Hoover High School. They made it 20 in a row later in the day with a 13-1 five-inning rout of Scottsboro.

The Indians opened the seventh with back-to-back doubles to bring a run home and their third hitter had just reached on a high wind-blown pop that eluded the reach of shortstop Austin Bolander to bring Brooks out of the dugout.

In many cases, that would’ve meant a pitching change, but actually Brooks was coming to the defense of his pitcher.

“I didn’t way a word,” Brooks said. “I just kind of stared at the ground where that ball hit. I kind of went out there to let our defense know ‘Hey, there’s a sophomore here throwing strikes’ and maybe kind of let him (Green) know you’re doing your job and give him a little more confidence.

“I didn’t get on to him. I didn’t get on to the infielders. I guess my look said a lot to the infielders.”

After the visit Green got a strikeout for the first out of the inning and the Jackets ended the game with an around-the-horn double play.

Green wasn’t sure what to expect when Brooks came to the mound; the last time he came out he lifted reliever Wesley Sparks to protect the eighth-grade reliever’s confidence.

“I was hoping he’d keep me in; I was throwing pretty well,” Green said.

When Brooks went back to the dugout and Green still had the ball, “I calmed down a lot. I felt a lot better.”

The Jackets (24-3) never trailed in the game, but they never shook the Indians (5-3) until late.

Andy Hammond’s sacrifice fly in the fifth snapped a 3-3 tie. The Jackets scored two in the sixth that Montgomery Central got back in the bottom of the inning before batting around in the seventh to score three more, which made Brooks more comfortable sending Green back out in the home seventh.

Everybody in the Oxford lineup reached base at least once. Brody Syer had three hits for the Jackets and Hopper hit two doubles.

“We hadn’t been visitors in a while … so I was kind of worried about how we were going to handle late in the game because you can’t wait to answer back like we’ve been doing in the last inning,” Brooks said. “We didn’t want to be ahead by one run on the road in the last inning.”

More young pitchers and hefty bats highlighted the second victory.

Freshman Jarin Turner gave up two hits and struck out five in 4 1/3 innings and two seventh-graders, Trey Mooney and Trey Higgins, got the final two outs. Turner was so sharp, he went to a three-ball count on only one batter.

Their Jackets’ hitters, meanwhile, ripped two triples and six doubles in the game to support them.

Getting the young pitchers’ feet wet with confidence was particularly important as the Jackets play eight games over the next four days, including a pair Friday against nationally ranked Sparkman.

The community is embracing the winning streak. A day hasn’t gone by that Brooks is in a store or restaurant around town and someone doesn’t mention it. But even as the streak grows, the Yellow Jackets are trying their best — outwardly as least — to keep it business as usual.

“Let’s just say this,” Brooks said. “Same breakfast tomorrow. Same BP time. Same BP attire. Same everything.”


Weaver 9, Greenville 0

GULF SHORES – Josh Langley and Cody Ortiz combined on a one-hit shutout and the Bearcats banged out 12 hits at the plate to produce a big start that could serve them well in what’s expected to be a rain-shortened tournament.

Langley pitched four innings of no-hit ball, while Ortiz gave up a flare single with one out in the seventh inning. They combined for seven strikeouts and two walks. It was Ortiz’ first appearance on the mound since coming back from an injury.

“That’s the most velocity he’s had all year; the ball was just jumping out of his hand and he was throwing it by them,” Weaver coach David Beegle said. “He came in and hit his spots with some pretty good velocity; that was pleasing to see.”

Tyrik Hall had three hits and Nick Souder drove in three runs to lead Weaver at the plate. Dalton Hamby, Langley and T.J. Thompson had two hits apiece.

Tournament officials already are gearing for the possibility of inclement weather and have adjusted their schedule according. The tournament champion will be crowned based on the total number of wins and runs scored.

Gulf Shores 1, Pleasant Valley 0

Gulf Shores pushed the game’s only run across in the first inning.


Buccaneer Classic
Oxford 9, Montgomery Central (Tenn.) 6

Oxford 012 012 3 – 9 9 2
MCTN 002 102 1 – 6 8 6

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