E.A. Sports Today

Arm strength

3 Piedmont pitchers combine on a one-hitter against JCA, lose perfect game in the fifth; Graves, Kirk homer for the Bulldogs

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Somebody in the dugout may have broken baseball’s biggest unwritten rule about not talking about a no-hitter or perfect game while it’s in progress, but losing the gem didn’t diminish the job Piedmont’s pitchers did in their county tournament opener Friday.

Three Piedmont pitchers combined on a one-hitter as the Bulldogs ran over Jacksonville Christian 15-1 at Choccolocco Park. The Bulldogs now play third-seeded White Plains in Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. quarterfinal game.

Mason Mohon, Derrick Baer and Cole Chasteen all pitched as the Bulldogs worked to build their stable of pitchers to combat the newly implemented pitch-count rules.

Mohon threw 13 pitches in a perfect first in his usual one-inning stint. Derrick Baer followed with three more perfect innings in his first mound appearance since anyone can remember. And Chasteen closed it out, but not before hitting his first batter to end the perfect game and giving up Kobe Messer’s two-out RBI single to dash the no-hitter and shutout.

Taylor Morrow just had to mention the Bulldogs had a perfect game going before they took the field in the fifth just having to get through it to win.

“Mohon has had three appearances and they’ve all been one inning apiece,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “That’s kind of the way we use him. We gave him a start today to see how he’d react from the beginning. He came in and threw strikes, which is what we wanted to see. And Baer, to not throw to a live batter and go three innings without a walk, that’s pretty impressive.

“This year with the new pitching rules you’ve gotta have as many pitchers as you can, for middle of the week games that aren’t necessarily counted and things like that. I felt like if we got a lead just use some of those guys. Baer came in and threw three great innings.”

Baer’s run-up to the outing was three bullpen sessions since the end of basketball season. He threw 32 pitches against the Thunder, 24 for strikes, and struck out four.

Piedmont’s hitters took a lot of the pressure off their pitchers by scoring seven runs in the first inning. The Bulldogs pounded 11 hits in the game, including homers Bailey Graves and Easton Kirk.

“In a game that you’re kind of expected to win it’s easy to lose focus and not come out and make routine plays and do the little things you work hard to get to and I thought we did a great job of that,” Deerman said. “Just getting the job done. We threw strikes, squared the ball up and made every play in the field, so I was very pleased with it.”

JCA 000 01 — 1 1 4
Piedmont 732 3x — 15 11 0

WP: Mason Mohon. LP: Kaleb Murphy. 2B: Taylor Hayes (P), Taylor Morrow (P). 3B: Mitchell Rogers (P). HR: Bailey Graves (P), Easton Kirk (P).

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