E.A. Sports Today

Making playoff plans

Oxford clinches a spot in Class 6A playoffs with a dramatic extra-inning tiebreaker win over Southside, whether it’s as the 1 or 2 is in someone else’s hands

Oxford third baseman Nate Lloyd tries to maintain contact with a Southside runner at third base in case his momentum carries him off the bag. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Thursday baseball
Southside 14, Oxford 2
Oxford 7, Southside 6, 10 inns.
Boaz 8, Alexandria 6
Boaz 10, Alexandria 0
Cherokee County 9, White Plains 2
Hokes Bluff 6, Jacksonville 3
Hokes Bluff 18, Jacksonville 10
Faith Christian 16, TCC 0
North Paulding (Ga.) 6, Cleburne County 2
Archer (Ga.) 15, Cleburne County 11
Munford 16, Anniston 0
Ohatchee 12, Weaver 2

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The Oxford Yellow Jackets clinched a spot in the Class 6A baseball playoffs Thursday night, but they went down to the wire to do it.

Jack Peavey’s one-out RBI single to right center capped a two-run rally in the bottom of the tenth that lifted the sixth-ranked Yellow Jackets over Southside 6-5 in the tiebreaker game of their three-game series.

Southside won the night’s opener 14-2 to split the counting games. The Yellow Jackets won the opener in extra innings Tuesday night.

“We’re in, but we’ll have to wait until next Thursday to see if we’re on the road or hosting,” Oxford coach Wes Brooks said. “Ultimately, I told our guys, all we want is an opportunity at the end of the year and that’s the first step.”

The locale of the Jackets’ first-round series will be determined by the outcome of the Pell City-Southside series. If the teams split, the Jackets will be area champions and host in the first round because they hold the tiebreakers over both PC and Southside. If there’s a sweep, the Jackets will be the area’s No. 2 team and play on the road.

There was a chance they could’ve been out altogether had they lost both games Thursday. That would have opened them to the possibility of a three-way coin flip, and that would’ve all gone back to their forfeit loss to Pell City, a consequence of their violation of the pitch count rule in a game they won on the field.

They’re moving on, though, because Peavey came up big against Southside once again in the 10th inning, Jacob Sears won two games in the series with virtually unhittable relief, and Caden Higgins proved to be a tough out as the Jackets’ new leadoff man.

The first game of the night was forgettable from an Oxford perspective. The Panthers erupted for nine runs in the third inning to put a game they already were leading out of reach. They sent 12 men to the plate in the inning highlighted by Tanner Snow’s two-run single and Logan Brooks’ three-run homer. The Yellow Jackets managed only three hits in the game.

The Panthers took a 6-5 lead in the nightcap with two runs in the sixth, but the Jackets drew even on Nate Lloyd’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.

The Jackets threatened to win it in the seventh and ninth innings, but couldn’t get the necessary run home. They had to get runs in the tenth after the Panthers scored to go-ahead run on a close play at the plate.

Sears kept them in it with four innings of fire-balling relief. He gave up three hits, an unearned run and struck out six. He also was the winning pitcher in the opener.

“I would say the biggest difference is Jacob Sears is able to come in and finish games for us when we got a one run lead or a tie; he’s been able to do that this week,” Brooks said. “It’s not too often do you get to be the winning pitcher in two of the three. Tonight I’d have to say we saw the Jacob Sears of two years ago when he was offered by South Alabama and Central Florida before his labrum tear.”

Higgins got the winning rally started with a one-out single and came around with the tying run when the Panthers bobbled Lloyd’s double to right. The Panthers got the second out then walked Brennan McCullough and Sears to load the bases.

Peavey followed with a ball that had just enough to get into right centerfield and bring the winning run home.

“In order for a team to win it all, it’s got to go through games like these, extra innings, coming back,” Brooks said. “The ball’s got to bounce your way sometimes. Tonight and the other night that happened, so when those things things happen guys start believing when they’re down by one or two (runs).”

Game One
Southside 14, Oxford 2
Southside 039 02 — 14 8 0
Oxford 100 01 — 2 3 6

WP: Logan Miracle. LP: Jarin Turner. 2B: Tanner Snow (S), Jarren Wright (S), Nathan Lloyd (O), Heyden Lindsey (O). HR: Logan Brooks (S). Hits – Southside: Tanner Snow 3, Austin Winningham 2, Jarren Wright, Logan Brooks, Baylon Fry, Caleb Jacobs; Oxford: Nathan Lloyd, Neyden Lindsey, Brantley Bargerhuff. RBIs – Southside: Tanner Snow 4, Jarren Wright, Logan Brooks 3.

Game Two
Oxford 7, Southside 6 (10 innings)
Southside 000 212 000 1 — 6 15 2
Oxford 103 001 000 2 — 7 13 3

WP: Jacob Sears. LP: Evan Edwards. 2B: Logan Brooks (S), Caleb Jacobs (S), Nathan Lloyd (O). HR: Logan Brooks (S). Hits – Southside: Tanner Snow 4, Austin Winningham, Jarren Wright, Logan Brooks 2, Daniel Sieber, Baylon Fry 2, Caleb Jacobs 2, Adam Lister 2; Oxford: Caden Higgins 2, Nathan Lloyd 3, Brennan McCullough 2, Jacob Sears, Jarin Turner, Jack Peavey, Judd Moore 2, Garrett Heard. RBIs – Southside: Tanner Snow, Logan Brooks, Daniel Sieber, Adam Lister; Oxford: Nathan Lloyd, Brennan McCullough, Jacob Sears, Jack Peavey.

Caden Higgins has proven to be a tough out since becoming Oxford’s new leadoff hitter. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To see more B.J. Franklin photos from the Oxford-Southside doubleheader, go to www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Cherokee County 9, White Plains 2: Noah Ledbetter tossed a complete game on a chilly day, allowing just two runs and six hits while striking out eight as the Warriors (19-5, 4-0) won the series.

“It’s a great series win for us,” Warriors head coach Fran Blanchard said. “We had great pitching on Tuesday, and Ledbetter came out and did a great job tonight. He gave our bats a chance to do their thing, and he pounded the zone. And with the weather the way it was, that’s a win-win for us.”

The Warriors struck early, with Jy Lockridge and Josh Decker both hitting RBI singles in the bottom of the first inning. Both player went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.

An RBI single from Colin Edwards and an RBI double by Jaren Lockridge made it 4-0 in the second. Edwards went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs.

The Wildcats (12-10, 2-3) managed to notch a pair of runs off Ledbetter in the top of the fifth. Andrew Cronan’s fielder’s choice and Jacob McCulley’s RBI double. But Cherokee County responded with a four-run outburst in the bottom half of the inning thanks to four infield hits.

“We do a great job of getting out of the box,” said Blanchard, “Our guys, especially in the bottom of the order (the segment Blanchard has dubbed ‘The Mighty Mites’), have a lot of speed, and that results in beating out infield ground balls and producing runs.”

RBIs from Colin Edwards, Jaren Lockridge, Mason Rodgers and Cade Gossett all drove in runs as the Warriors extended the lead to 8-2 in the fifth.

Having won its series against Hokes Bluff in the tiebreaker and losing the series with Cherokee County, White Plains now pins its playoff hopes of its final area series against Jacksonville next week. –Cherokee County Herald

Cherokee County 9, White Plains 2
White Plains 000 020 0 — 2 5 2
Cherokee Co. 220 041 x — 9 15 5

WP: Noah Ledbetter. LP: Andrew Cronan. 2B: Jacob McCulley (CC). Hits – White Plains: Andrew Cronan, Brett Beaver, Braxton Dopson, Payton Morgan, Jacob McCulley; Cherokee County: Colin Edwards 3, Jaren Lockridge 2, Jy Lockridge 2, Colin Brewer 3, Josh Decher 2. RBIs – White Plains: Andrew Cronan, Jacob McCulley; Cherokee County: Colin Edwards 2, Jaren Lockridge 2, Jy Lockridge, Josh Decker, Cade Gossett, Mason Rodgers.

Archer 15, Cleburne County 11
North Paulding 6, Cleburne County 2

The Tigers dropped a pair of games in the Perfect Game Spring Swing.

In the Archer game, the Tigers from Georgia answered Cleburne County’s go-ahead seven-spot in the bottom of the sixth with six runs in the top of the seventh. Noah Gaines and Damian Benefield both drove in three runs for Heflin.

Jaron Brown hit a three-run homer in the big inning and Christian Perez hit a two-run double for the Tigers up for good. Trevor Houston and Jordan Brown, who homered, both drove in a pair of runs for Cleburne County.

In the North Paulding game, the Wolfpack broke away from a 1-1 tie with four runs in the third inning. Brown went 3-for-4 for the Tigers while Damian Benefield and Houston each had two hits.

Archer 15, Cleburne County 11
Archer 003 610 6 — 15 20 0
Cleburne Co. 003 017 0 — 11 10 4

WP: Chase Christopoulos. LP: Trevor Houston. 2B: Matthew Allen (A), Craig Osmer (A), Christian Perez (A); Trevor Houston (CC). 3B: Christian Perez (A); Damian Benefield (CC). HR: Crews Taylor (A), Jaron Brown (A), Jordan Brown (CC)

North Paulding 6, Cleburne County 2
North Paulding 024 001 0 — 7 8 2
Cleburne County 101 100 0 — 3 10 4

WP: Rhadans. LP: Houston. 2B: Zito (CC).

Boaz 8-10, Alexandria 6-0: The Valley Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention by the sweep. In the 8-6 game, the Pirates tied the game with five runs in the third inning then took the lead for good on Parker Childers’ two-out RBI single in the fourth. Griffin Carroll homered for the Valley Cubs leading off the game.

Munford 16, Anniston 0: Three pitchers combined for the Lions’ third run-rule no-hitter in as many games against the Bulldogs. The Lions outscored Anniston 75-0 in the three-game series.


White Plains 14, Cherokee County 2: Shelby Wood and Lauren Dodson led a 16-hit Lady Wildcats attack with three hits and four RBIs each and Katy Roszell ripped three doubles.

Wood and Roszell both were 3-for-3. Dodson put the sixth-ranked Lady Wildcats ahead for good with a two-run single in the bottom of the first, then got a seven-run fourth inning started with a solo homer and had an RBI single later in the inning. Carson Coley went 3-for-3 for Cherokee County

White Plains 14, Cherokee County 2
Cherokee County 100 03 — 4 11 2
White Plains 232 7x — 14 16 2

WP: Ashlyn Hinton. LP: Karlee Perry. 2B: Jensen Alexander (CC), Carlee Rouss (CC), Karlee Perry (CC), Presley Whitten (WP), Katy Roszell 3 (WP). HR: Lauren Dodson (WP).

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