E.A. Sports Today

Huey’s homers help WP

Junior second baseman’s first homers ever fuel incredible White Plains rally in the seventh inning

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — Charlie Huey wasn’t a home run hitter when he stepped into the batter’s box in the seventh inning Monday night, but by the end of the inning he was a hero.

The junior infielder hadn’t hit a homer in his life before the game, but he hit two in an incredible nine-run, three-homer, seventh-inning rally that lifted White Plains over Ohatchee 10-9.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comeback like that,” Wildcats coach Wes Henderson said.

Huey got the rally started with a one-out solo homer that would have made a nice footnote to the game had what came next hadn’t happened. He came to the plate later in the inning and the delivered the most dramatic blow, a three-run bomb on the same type pitch from the same pitcher, to give the Wildcats a 10-8 lead.

“I’ve never hit one over in my life,” Huey said. “I knew I wanted to hit one before I graduated … but I wasn’t sure if I could or not. They were both inside pitches, I knew I turned on them good and watched them go over. (His teammates) were pumped. They couldn’t believe it.”

The closest he had come to hitting a homer before was ripping one off the top of the fence in youth ball.

Does this sudden surge in power change his reputation as a home-run hitter now?

“I don’t know,” he said. “It depends on what coach Henderson says.”

Interestingly, Huey was the Wildcats’ opening day second baseman but was pulled from the Wildcats’ lineup for ineffectiveness and Monday was his first game back after a three-game absence.

“Chuck is a hard worker,” Henderson said. “He made the best out of his opportunity and he’ll find himself back in the lineup.

“He’s still not a home run hitter. He makes hard contact. Hitting has not really ever been his problem. What I will give credit to Charlie for is he didn’t get frustrated when we took him out. He cheers for his teammates. I truly believe he’s a team guy first and I think that’s why good things happened for him tonight, because he’s handled it the right way.”

After Huey’s first homer, Jake Spivey hit a three-run homer to make it 8-5. Braxton Dopson and Noah Elder added RBI singles to set the stage for Huey’s second bomb. The Wildcats hit two homers all last season, and they came back-to-back against Donoho.

The homers Monday came off Jesse Sellers, who moved from behind the plate in the seventh after ace Jaylin Jenkins threw more than 100 pitches through the first six innings. Jenkins allowed only two hits, an unearned run and struck out 10 in his outing.

Ohatchee coach Blake Jennings’ options for a reliever were limited though by the newly implemented pitch-count rule and this game moved up a day to avoid a potential washed out by Tuesday’s projected inclement weather. Jennings said Sellers was about to be lifted when he gave up Huey’s second homer.

The Indians had dominated the game to that point. Eubanks and Jenkins hit homers in the first inning and the Tribe carried an 8-1 lead into the seventh.

Even after falling behind they threatened to win it in the home seventh against White Plains ace Andrew Cronan. They scored a run on Sellers’ RBI double and loaded the bases with one out, but Cronan got out of it with a strikeout and game-ending fly to right.

It was the Wildcats’ second one-run win over Ohatchee this season. They nosed out the Indians for the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Calhoun County Tournament at the seeding meeting here the day before and Ohatchee’s big early lead was seen as measure of revenge.

“This is exactly what I told our guys,” Henderson said of the rally. “They had to take out Jenkins, they brought a new kid in who’s a little wild at first, here’s what’s going to happen: He’s going to walk a couple guys, he’s going to get to the top of the lineup, we can lose a couple balls and we’re right back in it.

“I wasn’t expecting Charlie to hit one out, but that got it started. Hitting is contagious — it always has been and always will be — and our guys just kept going and kept going.”

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