E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs go batty

Piedmont hitters on a tear, win fifth straight with 10 or more runs; questions raised about White Plains playing during county tournament

Saturday’s games
Alexandria 7, Montgomery Catholic 2
Alexandria 14, Jacksonville 9
American Christian 14, Wellborn 2
Deshler 10, Oxford 3
Faith Christian 12, Anniston 2
Moody 9, Munford 8
Montgomery Catholic 16, Jacksonville 6
Munford 20, Lincoln 3
Piedmont 19, White Plains 0
Piedmont 11, Ohatchee 2
White Plains 8, Ohatchee 5
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
OHATCHEE – The Piedmont Bulldogs have been scoring runs at such an audacious clip since the Calhoun County Tournament the bats are literally flying out of their dugout.
The Bulldogs posted double-digits runs for the fifth straight game Saturday while taking victories from White Plains (19-0) and Ohatchee (11-2). They have scored 71 runs in their last five games – 41 in a three-game area sweep of Weaver and 30 Saturday.
They had a similar run in 2017 when they won five in a row with double-digit production from March 30 to April 7 (59 runs).
“We’ve been seeing everybody’s 1 and 2, so we’ve seen some really good quality pitching from the very get-go,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “Early-on our batting average was sub-.200 and we were having bad approaches at the plate, and the weather has kept us from getting in any kind of rhythm.
“Now that we’ve had several games in a row where we’ve gotten to see several live pitchers game after game our approaches have gotten better and we’re swinging at better pitches. I think that’s the biggest difference, our mentality at the plate.”
The Bulldogs pounded 24 hits in the doubleheader – 13 against White Plains, 11 against Ohatchee — and got home runs from Brant Deerman and Sean Smith in the nightcap. They scored in all but two of the 12 innings they played.
Deerman was 3-for-6 with three RBIs, Mason Mohon was 3-for-8 with four RBIs, Smith was 3-for-6 with four RBIs and Bryce Walter was 5-for-7 with 2 RBIs. Winning pitcher Jack Hayes had two hits and two RBIs in the White Plains game.
“Our bats have just really come alive and we’re really just playing really good as a team right now,” Smith said. “We’re working on our stuff in the cage, getting better approaches, and it’s starting to pay off in the games.
“The runs, that’s a pretty cool stat right there, but we’ve just got to stay focused on winning games because it doesn’t matter if we win 1-0 or 15-0. Getting back in the playoffs and making a run at the state championship is the only thing that matters.”
At least one bat in the Bulldogs’ dugout was really alive. OK, it wasn’t one of those kinds of bats, but one of those fuzzy winged creatures did get loose from the rafters of the Piedmont dugout in the sixth inning of the Ohatchee game and bolted for freedom, sending the Bulldogs scrambling out into foul territory.
“We were just chilling in there and Jakari (Foster) yells out, ‘Man, it’s a bat,’” said Silas Thompson, the Bulldogs’ starter and winner against Ohatchee. “I look up and see something flying towards my head, so I just duck and go straight for the fence.”
“I just heard bird or bat and I said I’m not riskin’ nothing,” Smith said.
Piedmont’s first game of the day was nothing like the one the teams played in the county tournament where Bryce Walter’s two-run homer gave Piedmont a walk-off win. White Plains ran out three pitchers in the first inning while Piedmont sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs. The Bulldogs tacked on eight more in the second.
White Plains 8, Ohatchee 5: The Wildcats rallied from an early 3-1 deficit and took control with six runs over the final two innings. They took the lead for good with a four-run sixth. Ethan Gobel tied the game 3-3 with a two-strike RBI single, the go-ahead run scored on Brandon Roper’s infield ground out and the other two runs scored on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly.
“Showed some fight in that first game,” White Plains coach Wes Henderson said. “It was looking rough there for a while.”
Tyler Daniel gave the Wildcats six strong innings of relief in his first varsity mound appearance to get the win. He gave up six hits, two runs (one earned) and struck out five.
“I was really proud of Tyler,” Henderson said. “First varsity experience, came in throwing strikes, doing exactly what we needed. He gained a little confidence as he stayed out there. He showed me he can compete. He was a guy going into the year we felt like we  would have rely on some out of pen. Still a young guy, but at some point you’ve got to throw them to the fire and that was a perfect opportunity.”
In related news, there has been some discussion of penalizing White Plains its share of the Calhoun County Baseball Tournament proceeds for playing a game with Donoho while the tournament was still ongoing, contrary to the county by-laws prohibiting such games in baseball and basketball.
Sources familiar with the situation said Saturday a principals’ vote on the issue was pushed back until May as they examined the issue. Jacksonville Christian also played a game during the tournament week and similar games have been played in the past. The idea of playing during the tournament week was raised during the seeding meeting without a resolution.

Piedmont 19, White Plains 0
Piedmont        683 02 – 19 13 0
White Plains   000 00 – 0 3 9
WP: Jack Hayes. LP: Henry O’Steen. 2B: Bryce Walter (P), Mason Mohon (P).
Piedmont 11, Ohatchee 2
Piedmont        201 114 2 – 11 11 0
Ohatchee        000 001 1 – 2 3 2
WP: Silas Thompson. LP: Larry Noah. 2B: Bryce Walter (P), Brant Deerman (P), Todd Dover (O). HR: Brant Deerman (P), Sean Smith (P).
White Plains 8, Ohatchee 5
White Plains   100 104 2 – 8 11 2
Ohatchee        300 000 2 – 5 8 1
WP: Tyler Daniel. LP: Grayson Alward.
2B: Conner Coffey (W), Matthew Clay (W), Coleman Messer (W), Ethan Gobel (W). 

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