E.A. Sports Today

Wildcats have right combination

Seeds hold on opening day of Calhoun County Tournament; Saturday games moved up to avoid problems with predicted bad weather

White Plains starter Brendan Roper struck out eight in 3.2 innings before reaching his pitch count. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)


Friday’s Games
No. 12 Wellborn 15, No. 13 Anniston 2
No. 6 White Plains 7, No. 11 Donoho 2
No. 7 Ohatchee 9, No. 10 JCA 2
No. 5 Pleasant Valley 16, Wellborn 1
No. 8 Weaver 5, No. 9 Saks 4

Saturday’s Games
No. 2 Alexandria vs. Ohatchee, 9:30 a.m. (BB1)
No. 4 Jacksonville vs. Pleasant Valley, 9:30 a.m. (BB2)
No. 1 Oxford vs. Weaver, noon (BB1)
No. 3 Piedmont vs. White Plains, noon (BB2)

Monday’s Games
Piedmont-White Plains winner vs. Alexandria-Ohatchee winner, 4:30 p.m. (Sig)
Oxford-Weaver winner vs. Jacksonville-PV winner, 7 p.m. (Sig)

Tuesday’s Game
Championship, 6 p.m. (Sig)

Colorful White Plains wins tourney opener

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The White Plains baseball team is starting to turn into the Oregon of Calhoun County high school baseball with all the uniform combinations it can put together.

The Wildcats sported new uniforms with a patriotic color scheme Friday night and rode the enthusiasm it created to a 7-2 win over Donoho in the Calhoun County Baseball Tournament at Choccolocco Park.

To see a photo gallery from Friday night’s tournament games, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Wildcats coach Wes Henderson joked the team could probably go the next five years and not wear the same thing twice as many combinations of jerseys, pants, socks and caps it has on hand. For the record, the Wildcats have seven tops, four pants, three stirrups and five caps.

Andrew Cronan shows off White Plains’ new Americana-themed uniforms for the County Tournament. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

That’s 3,876 combinations. You can do the math. (Thanks, Bryant Ginn).

“It is what it is,” Henderson said. “It’s a little bit ridiculous at times but the kids get fired up about it and so we’ve taken advantage of that and try to build a little bit of excitement around the program.”

The Wildcats went Friday with a white-on-white ensemble Henderson teased them with on his Instagram and then dropped on them after a “good practice” Thursday night. The jerseys had “Wildcats” in script across the chest underlined by a wide patriotic stripe that looked like something off the New England Patriots’ logo. There were three stars on the sleeves.

“It was awesome,” senior infielder Charlie Huey said. “I put it right up on my Instagram to show everybody.”

The style of the new duds was a nod to the program’s respect for the armed services and a tribute to the numerous military families with ties to the school, most notably basketball player Rian Chandler’s dad Todd and basketball coach Chris Randall’s son Dylan, both of whom served in Afghanistan; and first baseman Matthew Clay’s cousin Cory Garmon.

The Wildcats might get a call from the fashion police Saturday when they bust out a non-traditional red jersey in their noon quarterfinal game against third-seed Piedmont with white pants, red stirrups, blue belt and a white cap. White Plains had worn a uniform with strong red trim from 1982 to the late 90s, but it’s traditionally a blue-and-white team.

“We made a deal with the seniors last year that if you win a certain amount of games we’ll do something special, bring red back to the program,” Henderson said. “Just for a year. It’s not going to be a full-time deal, just this year.”

White Plains’ Braxton Dopson threw 3.1 innings of solid relief and hit a three-run inside-the-park home run. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

The on-field highlight of the game was Braxton Dopson’s play. The senior left-hander allowed one hit, two base runners and struck out seven in 3 1/3 innings of relief after starter Brendan Roper reached his pitch count. He also had a game-tying RBI and hit a three-run inside-the-park homer on a hit-and-run in the home fifth to break the game open.

But it was the pitching that got everyone’s attention.

“I pitched one time last year (against Pleasant Valley) and didn’t do well at all and it kind of knocked me down,” Dopson said. “I was really surprised when coach called me in when we were in a jam because I hadn’t thrown a lot. I came in tonight and felt like I threw well and helped my team to a win.”

Donoho struck first on Edwin Connell’s two-out, two-run single in the first, but the Wildcats answered back with two in the bottom of the inning on Jake Spivey’s RBI triple and Dopson’s run-scoring infield out. The Wildcats took the lead with two in the second and never trailed again.

Hall Billings was impressive on the mound for Donoho, striking out 11.

Donoho’s Charlie Williamon dives back into first before White Plains’ Matthew Clay and get down a tag. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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