E.A. Sports Today

Series slips away

Ohatchee’s dreams of advancing to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs dashed by one big Plainview inning

Ohatchee starter Larry Noah kept Plainview off the scoreboard for four innings before tiring in the fifth. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE — When the end had come, Ohatchee baseball coach Blake Jennings stood alone in the outfield grass, a solitary figure pacing through the right field, contemplating what might have been.

Things were going so well for the Indians for five innings in the winner-take-all Game 3 of their Class 3A playoff series with Plainview Saturday. But it all came crashing down in one big inning.

The Bears reached tiring starter Larry Noah and reliever Taylor Eubanks for six runs in the fifth and squashed Ohatchee threats in the sixth and seventh to win 6-5.

The Indians (15-14) led 5-0 after the visitors’ fifth and once the Bears took the lead had a runner thrown out at third for the last out of the sixth and had bases loaded with one out in the seventh but failed to score.

“It kind of just hit us,” Jennings said. “You go back and you say, ‘Did you leave him in too long?’ but Eubanks’ arm’s a little sore, he’s pitched all year, that’s kind of what we did. He came in there and gave up a couple hits and they tied it up. But he pitched well.”

Ohatchee built its lead on a two-run homer by Jaylon Jenkins, two in the second on a two-out error and Kevin Williamson’s sacrifice fly in the fifth. The homer was Jenkins’ 12th this year and 29th of his career; Jennings said he has “meant more to this program” than any person he knows.

The Bears sent 10 men to the plate in their big inning. The big hits were back-to-back two-run doubles by Kolton Farmer and Zack Allen on either side of the pitching change. Brady Black’s sharp single past Jenkins at third drove in the go-ahead run.

“The one constant we’ve had all year is our fight,” Bears coach James Johnson said. “The bats have been there some days; some days they haven’t. The gloves have been there some days; some days they haven’t. But the fight has been there consistent.

“Nobody wants to be down 5-0, but we preach to our kids from the time we get them to try your best to learn how to play this game without scoreboard. To respect every opponent, every situation the best you can and just to compete. We feel like if we just compete and control our controlables that the rest will take care of itself. We try our best to pretend like that red scoreboard’s not out there.”

The Indians had chances to tie it after Plainview took the lead. They had a runner in scoring position in the sixth, but Austin Tucker was thrown out at third after getting a late jump trying to advance on a ball in the dirt.

They had runners at second and third with none out in the seventh and bases loaded with one out, but soft-throwing Clay Cooper ended the threat with a soft liner and game-ending strikeout.

“We had everything we wanted,” Jennings said.

Plainview 6, Ohatchee 5
Ohatchee 220 010 0 — 5 9 0
Plainview 000 060 x — 6 11 3

WP: Luke Graham. LP: Taylor Eubanks. 2B: Kolton Farmer (P), Zack Allen (P). HR: Jaylon Jenkins (O). Hitting – Ohatchee: Baylee Graham 1-3, run; Jaylon Jenkins 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Jesse Sellers 1-3, run; Taylor Eubanks 2-3; Larry Noah 2-3; Kevin Williamson 1-3, RBI; Chase Widgeon 0-4; Grayson Alward 0-3; Blake Buckelew 0-1; Austin Tucker 0-2. Plainview: Clay Cooper 1-2, run; Trevor Gibson 3-4, run; Cade Willingham 0-2, run; Kilton Farmer 3-4, run, 2 RBIs; Zack Allen 1-3, run, 2 RBIs; Tyler Swanson 0-2; Trent Brown 1-3; Brady Black 1-3; Kline DeWolfe 1-4, run.

Trevor Gibson had a hit in the six-run fifth inning that gave Plainview the lead.

To see more B.J. Franklin photos from the Plainview-Ohatchee game, go to www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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