E.A. Sports Today


Piedmont sophomore Mohon delivers game-winner in seventh, then puts on power display in nightcap as Bulldogs sweep into second round

Piedmont’s Mason Mohon connects on his game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning against New Hope. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — Nobody needed a hit more in the seventh inning than Mason Mohon and nobody needed Mohon’s hit more than the Piedmont Bulldogs.

Mohon, the Bulldogs’ sophomore DH and second baseman, had struggled at the plate the past few weeks and had struck out in his first two at-bats in Friday’s Class 3A playoff opener against New Hope.

Bulldogs coach Matt Deerman had pinch-hit for him in the sixth, but decided to give him another shot with bases loaded in the seventh and Mohon delivered a two-out, two-strike opposite-field RBI single that delivered the Bulldogs a 4-3 come-from-behind win.

The game-winning hit must have provided a much-needed boost of confidence because Mohon hit a two-run homer and two-run double in their 11-1 nightcap win to sweep the series.

The Bulldogs (21-9) will now travel to West Morgan (16-11) for the second round.

“The first hit gave me a lot of confidence,” Mohon said. “I know I can hit the ball; I just need that confidence to do it. I think I got it back.”

Before Friday’s doubleheader, Mohon was fighting through a 4-for-24 slump that brought his batting average down to .213. He had only one RBI in his previous six games, but had five in the doubleheader.

“He’s been struggling,” said senior slugger Easton Kirk, who had a homer and two doubles in the nightcap. “I go over to the park-and-rec over here and stay out there three or four hours hitting with my dad, and he’s been going out there with me every day and it’s helped him a lot. We go out there and try to hit everything to right side and then we’ll have some swings where we’ll try to hit it out. I guess it worked because he hit it pretty good today.”

The Bulldogs trailed 3-2 when Mohon and the boys came to bat in the seventh. They loaded the bases with one out on two walks (one intentional) wrapped around a single by Kirk. Derrick Baer drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

The Indians (7-17) intentionally walked Bailey Graves to get to Mohon. He fell behind 0-2, but protected the plate and poked a pitch into right field to bring Kirk home with the winning record before being mobbed by his teammates.

“I was wanting another chance because I K’d up twice,” Mohon said. “If he was going to give me a chance I was going to make the most of it. That was the clutchest hit I’ve ever hit.”

“I told before he went up there there’s no pressure on you, it’s 3-3, we’re going to play some more even if you don’t get a hit, so it’s baseball, just have fun,” Game Two winning pitcher Taylor Hayes said. “He said all right and squared one up and hit it to right field. I think that helped him bust up that little slump and he had two hits the next game.”

Mohon’s two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole in the third inning gave the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead in the nightcap; it was his first-ever high school homer. His two-run double in the fourth made it 10-0.

Kirk hit a two-run homer in the first inning and had an RBI double in a five-run fifth. Taylor Morrow had two hits and was on base all four times he batted.

All that run support made Hayes look even more effective on the mound. The senior left-hander threw what Bulldogs coach Matt Deerman called “one of the better games he’s pitched.” He allowed two singles – both to Bret Clark – and struck out 12 in a six-inning two-hitter.

“I felt like I was on for sure,” Hayes said. “I think I’m throwing harder now than I have my whole life.”

Piedmont 4, New Hope 3
New Hope 010 020 0 — 3 6 2
Piedmont 100 001 2 — 4 6 2

(Two out when winning run scored)
WP: Logan Pruitt. LP: Jacob Maples. 2B: Jacob Maples (NH), Easton Kirk (P). Hitting – New Hope: Cole Sadler 1-3; Garrett Dudley 0-4, run; Derek Edwards 1-4; Jacob Maples 1-1; Hunter Thompson 1-3, RBI; Bret Clark 0-3, run; Caleb Lewis 1-2; Riley Fanning 0-1, RBI; Jeffery Cooper 1-3; Samuel Stapler 0-0, run. Piedmont: Taylor Hayes 1-2, 2 runs; Easton Kirk 2-4, run; Taylor Morrow 1-3, RBI; Derrick Baer 0-2, RBI; Bailey Graves 0-3; Mason Mohon 1-3, RBI; Cole Chasteen 0-1, RBI; Nick Johnson 0-1; T.J. Fairs 1-3; run; Michael Rogers 0-3; Weston Kirk 0-0, run.

Piedmont 11, New Hope 1
Piedmont 203 501 — 11 12 2
New Hope 000 010 — 1 2 1

WP: Taylor Hayes. LP: Riley Fanning. 2B: Easton Kirk 2 (P); Mason Mohon (P). HRs: Eason Kirk (P), Mason Mohon (P). Hitting – Piedmont: Taylor Hayes 1-2, 2 runs; Christian Doss 0-1; Easton Kirk 2-4, run, 4 RBIs; Taylor Morrow 2-2, 2 runs, RBI; Derrick Baer 1-3, run, RBI; Bailey Graves 1-3, run, RBI; Mason Mohon 2-4, run, 4 RBIs; Cole Chasteen 0-3; Logan Pruitt 1-2; Sean Smith 0-1; T.J. Fairs 1-2, run; Layton New 0-1, run; Nick Johnson 0-0, 1 run. New Hope: Cole Sadler 0-3; Garrett Dudley 0-2; Derek Edwards 0-3; Jacob Maples 0-3; Hunter Thompson 0-3; Bret Clark 2-2, run; Caleb Lewis 0-1, Jeffery Cooper 0-1; Riley Fanning 0-0; Williams Thomas 0-1; Samuel Stapler 0-2.

New Hope’s Garrett Dudley slides across the plate with a run in the fifth inning against Piedmont.

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

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