E.A. Sports Today

A ‘New’ outlook

Piedmont rallies in seventh for much-needed victory, junior New delivers game-winning hit; will play Alexandria in semis

Piedmont’s T.J. Fairs dives back into first base ahead of Jacob McCulley’s tag. Fairs stole second later in the inning. (Photos 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 12, Ohatchee 2
No. 4 Jacksonville 2, Pleasant Valley 1
No. 1 Oxford 8, Weaver 4
No. 3 Piedmont 9, White Plains 8

Monday’s Games
Piedmont vs. Alexandria, 4:30 p.m. (Sig)
Oxford vs. Jacksonville, 7 p.m. (Sig)

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

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The Piedmont baseball team needed a win in the worst way imaginable. The Bulldogs got it Saturday in the most dramatic way possible.

Junior outfielder Layton New delivered a two-run, one-out single in the bottom of the seventh to cap a four-run rally and lift the third-seeded Bulldogs over White Plains 9-8 in the Calhoun County Tournament at Choccolocco Park.

The Bulldogs now play second-seeded Alexandria in Monday’s semifinals. Top-seeded Oxford beat Weaver 8-4 on an adjacent field and will play Jacksonville in the other semifinal.

“You are not kidding we needed this,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “We’ve been struggling. We got two big wins early on and then we have not have played well at all the last four games.

“When you get beat 23-0 (as they did to Hokes Bluff) that will send you into depression almost; it’ll make you sick. The thing is every game we’ve been in they hadn’t really quit, except for that one game, so that says a lot about their willingness to get back on the winning side of things.

“When we’ve been behind in the seventh inning we’ve just pushed and pushed and pushed and finally got over the hump today. We needed that big time. Hopefully this will get that Piedmont baseball train rolling that we’re used to seeing as we get midway through the season and later on.”

The Bulldogs seemed destined for their fifth straight walk- and error-filled loss after giving up five runs in the fifth and going into the seventh down 8-5. White Plains lifted strong-armed starter Andrew Norred after 116 pitches before the seventh started and replaced him with its next most effective starter Andrew Cronan, but the Bulldogs hit him hard.

Mason Mohon got the rally started with a single and moved up on a wild pitch. Seventh-grader Jack Hayes followed with an RBI single – his second hit of the game – to make it 8-6.

After a strikeout, Brant Deerman singled and Logan Pruitt followed with a run-scoring single to make it 8-7. The runners moved up a base on the relay from the outfield and New followed with his liner into right-center to win it.

Up to that point, New’s career claim was running bases for the Bulldogs last year and being their most effective pitcher in that 23-0 loss, the first game he had pitched in two years. Deerman gave him his shot last week to fill a needed extra outfielder slot.

“I just wanted to do something good for my team, make something happen,” New said. “I’ve been struggling at the plate here lately so I’ve been practicing all week just throwing my hands at the ball and making something happen for the team.

“Knowing what was at stake, win or go home, I wanted to get the win and my team wanted to get the win. This just starts the train rolling back again. There for a few games we lost our footing, this is going to start the train rolling again. This was a big win.”

Alexandria’s Jalen Borders dives head-first into third base with a triple in the second inning. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Alexandria 12, Ohatchee 2: The Valley Cubs used a big third inning to take control of the game, ending the game in five innings and getting out in plenty of time for the prom later in the evening.

Larry Noah’s inside-the-park home run in the top of the third gave the Indians a 2-1 lead, but the Valley Cubs answered by sending 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning to score nine runs.

Nate McCallum’s inside-the-park homer gave the Cubs the lead and his RBI single in the fifth ended the game. Noah Primm, Layton Ellison and Ryan Taylor also had two hits. Mitch Welch had three.

“I thought we swung it well today,” Alexandria coach Andy Shaw said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate, but our guys had some good approaches and we’re getting better at that. I thought the past few games our approach has been getting better and we finally saw some results. We needed to see that.”

Brennan Brown went the distance to get the win. He threw 60 pitches, gave up six hits, got out of a bases-loaded jam later in the third and retired the last seven batters he faced.

The Valley Cubs played an efficient game, but getting out quick to make sure they made the prom wasn’t the motivation.

“I told them proms are for girls and your mothers, it’s a dance,” Shaw said. “You won’t remember your prom … but you’ll remember getting your tail beat by Ohatchee the rest of your life.”

Piedmont 9, White Plains 8
White Plains 001 150 1 – 8 8 2
Piedmont 111 020 4 – 9 11 5

WP: Taylor Morrow. LP: Andrew Cronan.
2B: T.J. Fairs (P), Jack Hayes (P). RBIs – White Plains: Matthew Clay, Braxton Dopson, Charlie Huey, Jacob McCulley, Andrew Norred 2; Piedmont: Cole Chasteen 2, Davis Young,
Brant Deerman, Logan Pruitt, Layton New 2, Jack Hayes.

Alexandria 12, Ohatchee 2
Ohatchee 011 00 – 2 6 1
Alexandria 019 11 – 12 14 1

WP: Brennan Brown. LP: Larry Noah.
2B: Layton Ellison 2 (A), Mitch Welch 2 (A), Ryan Taylor (A). 3B: Jalen Borders (A). HR: Larry Noah (O), Nate McCallum (A).

To see a photo gallery from the day’s county tournament games, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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