E.A. Sports Today

Four fab innings

Oxford outduels Piedmont in rematch of Calhoun County Tournament final with opposing aces on mound for first four innings

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – It only lasted four innings, but it was the pitching matchup baseball fans in Calhoun County had wanted to see all year.

In a rematch of the Calhoun County Tournament championship game earlier in the week, Oxford took down Piedmont 4-1 Friday at Choccolocco Park.

While the entire game was pretty good, the first four innings of the game were a classic, a matchup between the top two pitchers in Calhoun County. With both aces facing a pitch count, Piedmont left-hander Taylor Hayes pitched four innings and Oxford southpaw Brody Syer worked into the fifth.

And neither give up much. The Yellow Jackets managed three hits and manufactured a run in the second inning off Hayes, who threw 59 pitches. The Bulldogs managed only two hits off Syer, lifted after 84 pitches and three successful turns at Piedmont slugger Easton Kirk.

“It was ace on ace and I thought both pitchers did a really good job,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “It was fun to watch.”

Syer was really sharp early. He struck out four batters in the first inning, five of the first seven he faced, and threw 18 of his first 22 pitches for strikes.

“You just have to be focused and take care of every pitch and take care of what you can control,” Syer said. “Every game you just have to come prepared, come with lots of energy, and play the best you can play.”

He left with a 1-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets added another run in the fifth on Nate Lloyd’s sacrifice fly and two insurance runs in the sixth on Jarin Turner’s RBI single and Caden Higgins’ squeeze.

In this type game clutch hitting is paramount and the Bulldogs’ problem was it couldn’t get the key hit. They put runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings and six of the seven in the game and loaded the bases with none out twice but only got one run out of it.

They scored when Hayes drew a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch in the sixth inning.

The first time they loaded the bases, in the fourth, Syer got out of the inning with the last of his seven strikeouts and inducing Hayes into a 1-2-3 double play. The second time, they loaded the bases against Brantley Bargerhuff, who faced only four batters in his first game back since opening day, but Jacob Sears came on and even though he walked Hayes to produce the run he got out of it with three strikeouts.

“That’s definitely the difference in the game,” Deerman said. “They’ve got top-notch elite pitching and you’ve got to credit them for their guys getting out of those jams, but that was the whole talk right here: We’re leaving too many runners on bases.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Oxford or if it’s Pleasant Valley who’s in our area, we have got to do a better job of hitting in those situations. You’re not going to beat anybody scoring one run.”

Oxford 9, Munford 2: Nate Lloyd’s bases-loaded, three-run double was the big blow in a four-run second inning that erased a 2-1 deficit. Hayden Green pitched a complete-game two-hitter and held Munford hitless after Jeff Threatt’s homer in the second gave the Lions that 2-1 lead. Green retired 17 of the last 20 batters he faced, including the last eight in a row.

Oxford 9, Munford 2
Munford 110 000 0 — 2 2 2
Oxford 141 003 x — 9 6 1

WP: Hayden Green. LP: Cannon Brasher. 2B: Judd Moore (O), Nate Lloyd (O), Jarin Turner (O). 3B : Zayy Britt (M), Brody Syer (O). HR: Jeff Threatt (M).

Oxford 4, Piedmont 1
Piedmont 000 001 0 — 1 5 0
Oxford 010 012 x — 4 8 1

WP: Brody Syer. LP: Taylor Hayes. 2B: Michael Rogers (P), Jarin Turner (O).

You must be logged in to post a comment Login