E.A. Sports Today

Big inning earns Oxford split

Yellow Jackets erupt for 11 runs in seventh inning of nightcap to force Game 3 with Homewood

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The floodgates opened both figuratively and physically for the Oxford baseball team late Friday night at Choccolocco Park as they took a 14-2 nightcap win to extend their best-of-three 6A play-off series with Homewood.

The Patriots won the opener 2-1. The teams will play the deciding game Saturday at 1 p.m.

The rains were headed east along I-20 and Oxford was down 2-1 with two outs in the sixth inning. Failure to score could possibly eliminate the Jackets as rain could end the game.

And it did not look good until Trey Hopper smacked a clutch two-run single to give the Jackets a 3-2 lead heading to the seventh inning.

The rains somehow held off, but the floodgates opened in the seventh as the Jackets scored 11 runs. Just as Oxford starting pitcher Andy Hammond got the last out, the skies opened with rain and lightning clearing out the park quickly.

“We get stronger through adversity and we are never out of the fight,” Oxford coach Wes Brooks said.

The Patriots jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the nightcap.

After continually getting baserunners but failing to bring them home, Oxford finally broke through in the fourth on Hammond’s RBI double. The Jackets were fighting to get the lead in case the rains would come and end things.

The Jackets sent 16 batters to the plat in the seventh. It was their biggest inning since scoring 10 in the first inning of a second-round 2009 playoff series against Hewitt Trussville.

Brody Syer’s three-run double, Hammond’s two-run double and four Homewood errors fueled the big inning.

The Patriots ran out of pitching as the game went on and it was just a matter of time before the Yellow Jackets’ bats got going. Oxford had one runner on base in all 14 innings they played in the doubleheader. Hopper had three hits.

Hammond struggled with his control the first two innings, but only allowed two hits after the second and struck out eight in picking up the win.

The series got off to a frustrating start for the Jackets. They outhit the Patriots 8-3 in the opener, but left 10 runners stranded.

Syer gave up two walks, two hits and two runs in the first inning but shut down the Patriots the rest of the way on one hit. He struck out five in going the distance.

Designated hitter Caden Higgins knocked home Judd Moore in the bottom of the second with a sacrifice fly for the Jackets’ lone run.

Brennan McCullough and Jacob Sears had two hits apiece to lead Oxford. The Jackets had nine runners reach second, but were 1-for-11 in the game with runners in scoring position.

Game 1
Homewood 200 000 0 — 2 3 0
Oxford 010 000 0 — 1 8 0

Game 2
Oxford 000 102 (11) — 13 12 2
Homewood 020 000 0 – 2 3 6

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