E.A. Sports Today

Bulldog tough

Kirk pitches, hits Piedmont past Lauderdale County and into the Class 3A semifinals against Colbert Heights

Piedmont’s Easton Kirk gave up three hits and struck out 11 in the Bulldogs’ series-clinching 7-2 win over Lauderdale County (Special photo)

Special to East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — When Easton Kurt feels good in the game chances are the Piedmont Bulldogs are going to feel good, too.

Kirk felt good on the mound and at the plate Saturday and helped the Bulldogs in both areas to beat Lauderdale County 7-2 to win their Class 3A playoff series and reach the baseball state semifinals.

It was the second series in a row the Bulldogs (25-12) won in Game 3. They now play at Colbert Heights (19-7) for a chance to play for the state title Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Kirk got the start on the mound and went the distance, allowing two runs, three hits and striking out 11. The Bulldogs pitchers kept the K-Club guys on the balcony of the football stadium busy by fanning 36 Lauderdale County batters in the series.

Kirk also helped his cause at the plate, launching an opposite-field solo homer in the first inning to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

“I struggled a little early on,” said Kirk, “but once we got some runs I got settled in. I felt really good today, and I felt good at the plate, too. The whole team did a great job today getting the big lead today, so that was huge.”

Three batters after Kirk’s homer, second baseman Mason Mohon hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0.

The Bulldogs scored four more in the second inning on a two-run single by Taylor Morrow and RBI singles by Mohon and Bailey Graves.

Kirk cruised from there. He threw 117 pitches, 71 for strikes. He didn’t allow a hit over the final 3 2/3 innings.

Kirk hit the first batter in the seventh, but a terrific double play started by a back-handed glove flip from Mohon would leave the Tigers (20-11) with just one final out. Kirk got that with another strikeout.

“Easton has pitched in some big games in his career, and he wanted the ball this game,” Bulldogs head coach Matt Deerman said. “He got in trouble a few times, but he got out of it and pitched a great performance.

“I keep telling the kids every week ‘I want one more week with y’all’ and they just keep performing week in and week out. We’re excited to go to the next round.”

Piedmont 7, Lauderdale County 2
(Piedmont wins series, 2-1)
Piedmont 340 000 0 — 7 7 2
Lauderdale Co. 000 110 0 — 2 3 1

WP: Easton Kirk. LP: Jake Maner. 2B: Taylor Hayes (P). HR: Easton Kirk (P), Mason Mohon (P)

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