E.A. Sports Today

High drama early

Hoover wins a pitching duel with Oxford; Spring Garden, White Plains, Wellborn, Handley all win

Oxford’s Caden Higgins (4) catches Hoover’s Nick Davis trying to steal in the first inning. On the cover, Drew Guffey scores Hoover’s second run of the fourth inning. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Tuesday’s Results
Ashville 6, Weaver 5
Handley 6, Cleburne County 0
Haralson County (Ga.) 15, Ranburne 0
Hoover 2, Oxford 0
Jacksonville 4, Piedmont 2
Pell City 11, Alexandria 1
Randolph County 19, Wadley 11
Saks 11, JCA 4
Spring Garden 10, Pleasant Valley 3
Wellborn 10, Glencoe 0
White Plains 5, Ohatchee 4

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – It’s only the second week of the season and already Oxford finds itself in a playoff atmosphere that is bound to help it down the road regardless of the outcome.

Hoover pushed across two runs in the fourth inning and two pitchers made them stand with a combined three-hit shutout as the Bucs blanked Oxford 2-0 at Choccolocco Park Tuesday.

Scott Elgin and Griffin Lape faced four batters above the minimum and struck out eight. They allowed only one Oxford runner to reach scoring position.

“It was a playoff type atmosphere,” Oxford coach Wes Brooks said. “Their guy had all three pitches working, 87, 89 (mph) and Brody (Syer, the Jackets’ pitcher) didn’t have his stuff working but he competed his butt off.

“There were maybe two at-bats we had to do some damage and they probably had six to do damage and they did it on two of them.”

The Bucs scored all the runs in the game in the fourth inning. The rally started with a leadoff error. No. 9 hitter Drew Guffey then hit an RBI double to left and Garrett Farquhar singled him home.

Brennan McCullough had two of Oxford’s three hits. Jacob Sears had the other. Syer pitched a complete game for Oxford, giving up five hits and striking out four.

The Yellow Jackets are now 2-2 in the Birmingham-Huntsville Challenge and 5-2 overall. The rest of their tournament schedule doesn’t get any easier with Sparkman, Vestavia Hills and Grissom still to play, but Brooks likes it that way.

“We need to see as many of those games as we can see where every pitch is magnified, because when good teams make a run in the playoffs, that’s what it gets down to,” he said. “We need to be competing in high-pressure situations as many as we can, so it won’t be so uncommon. We like to schedule hard on the front end to see our guys compete and try to figure our identity against these high-level teams.”

Nolan Hammonds drops down a bunt to give Hoover a chance to add more runs in the fourth inning. The Jackets were already down 2-0, but got out of the jam without any more runs scoring. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Spring Garden 10, Pleasant Valley 3

JACKSONVILLE – Winning pitcher Chris Slayton hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning and Spring Garden broke open a close game with six runs in the seventh inning with the benefit of only one hit.

The Panthers sent 11 batters to the plate in their big inning. They had one hit, three walks, two errors, a hit batsman and a dropped third strike.

Caden Turner had two hits, including a two-run triple in the seventh for Pleasant Valley. Nick Charping also had two hits. Dalton Payne had an RBI single in the fourth

Spring Garden’s Chris Slayton (17) loads up at the plate against Pleasant Valley. Slayton homered and pitched the Panthers to a victory. (Photo by Daniel Lee)

White Plains 5, Ohatchee 4

The Wildcats scored three runs on three hits in the first inning and was held hitless over the last five innings, but found a way to squeeze out a victory.

Braxton Dopson hit a two-run double and Tucker Harrell drove in a run. Andrew Norred worked the first 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven. Tucker Harrell finished up and allowed one hit to earn the save.

Wellborn 10, Glencoe 0

Brandt Denham pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and didn’t allow a runner past second base.

The first seven hitters in Wellborn’s lineup had at least one hit in the Panthers’ 10-hit attack. Brandon Swann had two hits and three RBIs, Kane Pitts drove in two runs and Jordan Montgomery and Jacob Shears both went 2-for-3.

Handley 6, Cleburne County 0

HEFLIN — Senior right-hander Rhett Fetner threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight, for his second win of the season. He also hit two doubles.

Kyle Lester had two hits and two RBIs, and Colby Cagle drove in two runs.

Tuesday Linescores
Hoover 2, Oxford 0
Hoover 000 200 0 — 2 5 1
Oxford 000 000 0 — 0 3 3

2B: Drew Guffey (H). WP: Scott Elgin. LP: Brody Syer.

Spring Garden 10, Pleasant Valley 3
Spring Garden 000 220 6 — 10 6 1
Pleasant Valley 000 100 2 — 3 6 3

3B: Caden Turner (P). HR: Chris Slayton (S). WP: Chris Slayton. LP: Nick Howard.

Wellborn 11, Glencoe 0
Glencoe 000 200 0 — 0 3 5
Wellborn 010 424 x — 11 10 0

2B: Brandon Swann (W). WP: Brandt Denham.

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