E.A. Sports Today

Heavy hitters

Wellborn flexes its hitting chops, erupts for 19 runs, 21 hits to win its opening-round playoff series from Pisgah

By East Alabama Sports Today

PISGAH – The Wellborn Panthers couldn’t have picked a better time to flex their hitting chops.

The veteran Panthers have swung a mean bat this season, but Saturday they erupted for 15 runs in the first two innings and 21 hits in the game to pummel Pisgah 19-7 to win their best-of-three Class 3A playoff series.

“We’ve been on the baseball lately,” Wellborn coach Todd Manning said. “We’ve been hitting the ball, but finding the gap was a little tough. It all came together today.

“They knew what they had to do, they knew what they could do and they went out and did it. They weren’t uptight, weren’t nervous. They knew what they had to do and went out and did it.”

Now they’ll travel to Lauderdale County (17-9) next weekend for a chance to make a little history. It’s been nearly a decade since the Panthers made it out of the first round of the baseball playoffs and 16 years since they advanced to the third round.

They certainly have the hitting to make them formidable.

In the three-game series against Pisgah, the Panthers (10-11) scored 37 runs and pounded 48 hits. And it comes about a week after they scored 17 in a loss to Weaver.

They hit .457 in the series (48-for-105) with four homers and 13 extra-base hits. Blake Hanson was 9-for-13 with eight RBIs. Brandt Denham was 8-for-11 with seven RBIs and four extra-base hits, Jordan Montgomery was 6-for-12 with five RBIs and Kane Pitts was 6-for-13 with three RBIs.

All nine starters had at least one hit and one RBI in the deciding game and eight had multiple hits. Brandon Swann went 4-for-4, Montgomery and Hanson both were 3-for-4 and Hanson drove in four runs. Montgomery homered. Ked Harris also had four RBIs.

“We’d been working this whole week on seeing the ball and doing a job to advance the runners,” Hanson said. “We all had a good weekend and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We are going to try to ride this hitting parade for as long as we can and if we hit the ball like we did then I have no doubt we will keep winning, because I believe our defense is solid.”

Wellborn jumped on Pisgah for six runs in the first inning and when the Eagles (10-13) scored three in the second the Panthers came back with nine in the bottom of the inning.

They sent 10 batters to the plate in the first and 12 in the second. Hanson and Harris both had two-run singles in the first. Harris had a two-run single and Denham a two-run double in the second. Montgomery capped the eruption with his homer.

“I feel like we’re peaking at the right now; we’ve been building and building and building and it’s starting to pay off,” Manning said. “Instead of peaking and falling off, we’re starting to play more as a team and believe in each other. They’re believing they should be there.”

One of Manning’s deepest remembrances of the series will have nothing to do with all the hitting Wellborn did in the games.

Friday night, the public address system went out in the stadium right about the time to play the national anthem. Instead of scrapping the tradition, the players stood on the sidelines and sang a capella. The PA system was up and running Saturday, but the teams did it the same way again.

“That’s one of those memories you’ll never forget,” Manning said.

Wellborn 19, Pisgah 7
Pisgah 033 10 — 7 9 2
Wellborn 690 4x — 19 21 1

WP: Hunter Haynes. LP: Wyatt Whisenant. 2B: Brandt Denham (W), Kane Pitts (W). HR: Jordan Montgomery (W). Hitting – Pisgah: Houston Bell 1-4, RBI; Levi Ellis 2-3, run; Audy Smothers 0-0, run; Ryan Evans 1-3; Malachi Griggs 1-2, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Ryley McBride 1-3, run, RBI; Wyatt Whisenant 2-3, RBI; Austin Smith 1-3; Nick Feltman 0-2, run. Wellborn: Brandt Denham 2-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Hunter Haynes 2-3, run, RBI; Jordan Montgomery 3-4, 4 runs, RBI; Jacob Shears 1-4, 2 RBIs; Blake Hanson, 3-4, 2 runs, 4 RBIs; Kane Pitts 2-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Brandon Swann 4-4, 2 runs, RBI; Devin Brown 2-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Ked Harris, 2-4, run, 4 RBIs.

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