E.A. Sports Today

Big-time Bryce

Walter’s walk-off homer lifts Piedmont in tournament quarterfinals; it was his first career HR, Bulldogs third straight quarterfinals win over White Plains, second by walk-off
Saturday’s games
Ohatchee 5, Saks 0
Alexandria 15, Jacksonville 5, 6 inn.
Oxford 12, Weaver 2, 5 inn.
Piedmont 3, White Plains 2
Monday’s games
(Choccolocco Park, Signature Field)
Piedmont vs. Alexandria, 4:30 p.m.
Ohatchee vs. Oxford, 7 p.m.
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — On the day the highest-paid Bryce in baseball played his first game of spring training, a regular guy named Bryce became a hero for the Piedmont Bulldogs.
Bryce Walter, the No. 9 hitter in the Piedmont lineup, ripped a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Bulldogs past White Plains 3-2 in the Calhoun County Tournament quarterfinals.
It was the first home run of the junior third baseman’s high school career and the second year in a row the Bulldogs beat White Plains on a walk-off in their Saturday tournament opener; last year it was a four-run seventh.
“It feels good to do something good for the team,” Walter said. “I’ll remember this forever, my whole life.”
The win sends third-seeded Piedmont to face No. 2 seed Alexandria in Monday’s 4:30 p.m. semifinal on the Signature Field at Choccolocco Park. Top-seeded Oxford and No. 4 Ohatchee play in the following semifinal at 7.
Walter just wanted to put the bat on the ball when he came up to face White Plains ace Matthew Clay with one out in the seventh and a runner at first after a failed sacrifice.
He got a fastball right down the middle and “I killed it.” The ball sailed over the left centerfield fence for his third hit of the day.
“He’s been seeing the ball and having probably as good at-bats as anybody on our team,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “He’s there to roll the top of the lineup; he’s definitely doing the job there. We don’t think of him as a power guy but when your barrel keeps running into the ball eventually good things are going to happen like that.”

Clay came on as planned to get through the seventh against the bottom of Piedmont’s order after starter Brendan Roper gave the Wildcats six strong innings.
The blast made a winner of Logan Pruitt, who was facing the prospect of being a hard-luck loser after giving up the go-ahead run on a two-out pitch up in the zone to Connor Coffey in the top of the inning.
Pruitt gave up one hit through the first six innings, three hits altogether and struck out 11.  He threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes.
“He threw lights out today,” Deerman said. “I don’t know what his strike percentage was, but it was way up there. He’s one of the most consistent pitchers I’ve ever coached; he does a really good job. You know what you’re going to get when he goes out there.”
Piedmont 3, White Plains 2
White Plains   000 100 1 – 2 3 2
Piedmont        000 001 2 – 3 7 1

WP: Logan Pruitt. LP: Matthew Clay. 2B: Conner Coffey (WP), Ethan Gobel (WP). HR: Bryce Walter.

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