E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs bounce back

Piedmont back on track for another area championship after taking two from Pleasant Valley; Childs wraps big series for Saks, and more

Thursday’s results
Clay Central 5-0, Munford 0-10
Cleburne County 19, Talladega 6
Donoho 11, JCA 3
Etowah 7-6, Alexandria 2-7 (Gm 2, 9 inns.)
Hokes Bluff 11-11, White Plains 6-1
Jacksonville 3-7, Cherokee County 2-9
Lincoln 14, Anniston 1
Oxford 5-19, Albertville 4-9
Ohatchee 9, Weaver 5
Piedmont 12-10, Pleasant Valley 2-3
Saks 10-9, Wellborn 3-8
Victory Christian 12, Faith Christian 0
Choccolocco Park Experience
Austin 3, Central-Phenix City 1
James Clemens vs. Central-Phenix City
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
PIEDMONT – Jack Hayes knew the Piedmont Bulldogs’ best chance to win an eighth straight area baseball title was to sweep their doubleheader with Pleasant Valley Thursday.
The Bulldogs lost the series opener Tuesday, so they had to win the first game to split the formal part of the series. But they also to win the nightcap to earn the tiebreaker in case they finished tied with the Raiders for any position in the Class 3A Area 9 standings.
Piedmont won the first game 12-2, then completed the doubleheader sweep 10-3 in the nightcap. Hayes, an eighth-grader, delivered a big hit to get them started in the opener, then hit and pitched them to a victory in the nightcap.
The Bulldogs have scored 10 or more runs in seven of their last eight games, 95 runs total. It’s their most prolific eight-game stretch of the last six seasons. The only break in the torrent came Tuesday when they were held to two runs by PV’s Jackson Almaroad.
“Today was a very important game,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “If we lost today then we’re in a dogfight and we’re going to have to depend on somebody else to have a win. You don’t ever want to be in that situation having to depend on what somebody else does.
“We didn’t have good at bats and approaches at the plate (Tuesday). Today I thought our approaches at the plate was great. We made their pitchers get deep in the count every at bat. Our hitting in key situations was big. … I was very pleased with our leadership and how we responded.”
The Bulldogs scored in every inning of the doubleheader except one. Their first 11 runs in the opener all came after two were out.
Sean Smith had a two-run single and Bryce Walter a two-run homer on back-to-back at bats in the first inning of Game One to get it started and Hayes ripped a three-run double in the second. Walter, meanwhile, held the Raiders to four hits and struck out seven from the mound as the Bulldogs evened the series.
“We had to win that first one,” Walter said. “I had confidence in myself I could do it. I’m pretty proud of this. It’s something we needed to do and we got it done. Ever since Tuesday the players were saying we’ve got to get these two to win the series. It was very important to us.”
It was Hayes’ turn in the nightcap. He threw only 72 pitches in the seven-inning complete game (53 for strikes), giving up just five hits. At the plate, he delivered a two-run double in the first that wiped out the first run he’d given up all year as a pitcher and gave the Bulldogs the lead for good. 
Later in the game Smith hit a two-run homer and Nick Johnson delivered a pair of RBI doubles among his three hits.
“It’s never fun to lose an area game when you’ve won eight years in a row,” Hayes said. “We just didn’t play our best Tuesday and we came out Thursday and played real good. We hit the ball better than we did Tuesday. It was a lot better feeling winning Thursday.”
The Bulldogs now have the upper hand in the area race. Pleasant Valley was in a position of power after winning the series opener and despite being swept Thursday still appears to have the advantage in the race for a playoff spot.
Game One
Pleasant Valley  010 01 – 2 4 2
Piedmont         433 11 – 12 9 1
WP: Bryce Walter. LP: Austin Johnson. 2B: T.J. Fairs (P), Jack Hayes (P). HR: Bryce Walter (P).
Game Two
Pleasant Valley  100 100 1 – 3 5 2
Piedmont         240 211 x – 10 12 5
WP: Jack Hayes. LP: Colby Nelson. 2B: Nick Johnson (P), Sean Smith (P), Jack Hayes (P). HR: Sean Smith (P).                        
Saks 10-9, Wellborn 3-8: Jaylen Childs capped a monster series with a homer in each game and a run-scoring single in the four-run fourth inning that put Saks on top in the nightcap in order to complete the sweep.
Childs was 10-for-13 in the series with 17 RBIs, a homer in each game and seven extra-base hits. He also threw a complete game in the opener, when he went 5-for-5 with four extra-base hits and eight RBIs at the plate.
“Jaylen Childs played one of the best series I have ever been a part of,” Saks coach Wes Ginn said.  “He was dialed in at the plate all series long and pitched great in Game 1 as well. I don’t think I have ever seen a player have (that many) RBIs in a three-game series.”
The Wildcats trailed 8-5 going into the home fourth of the nightcap. Childs singled home the first run, Caleb Ogle had a two-run single to tie it and the go-ahead run scored on an error.
Game One
Wellborn        000 300 0 – 3 7 2
Saks                241 102 x – 10 12 1
WP: Daevon Larkins. LP: Jett Smith. 2B: Jaylen Childs (S), Hunter McLeod (S), Mason Jairrels (S). HR: Jaylen Childs (S).
Game Two
Wellborn        420 200 0 – 8 6 1
Saks                320 400 x – 9 11 5
WP: Hunter McLeod. LP: Evan Beadles. 2B: Bailey Neely (W), Will Waldrop (W), Caleb Ogle (S). HR: Jaylen Childs (S)
Oxford 5-19, Albertville 4-9: Trey Higgins drove in seven runs in the doubleheader as the Yellow Jackets completed a sweep of the entire area series.
The Yellow Jackets opened a 4-0 lead through three innings of the opener and after a shaky middle of the game Wesley Sparks kept the Aggies off the board over the last two innings to preserve the victory.
In the nightcap, Jake Spivey hit a three-run homer in the first inning and drove in four runs and Higgins had five RBIs. The Jackets jumped out to 12-0 lead, but the Aggies scored seven unearned runs in the bottom of the third to make it interesting.

Game One
Oxford            121 010 0 – 5 6 1
Albertville      000 220 0 – 4 6 1
WP: Jarin Turner. LP: Caleb Marsh. S: Wesley Sparks. 2B: Caleb Marsh (A), Jake McDaniel (A), Alex Johnson (A).
Game Two
Oxford            345 106 – 19 11 3
Albertville      007 020 – 9 6 7
WP: Cole Hapach. LP: Justin Cantrell. S: Ian Moyers. 2B: Jarin Turner (O), Chadd Adams (O), Garrett Davenport (O), Jake Spivey (O). HR: Jake Spivey (O).
Etowah 7-6, Alexandria 2-7: Noah Primm scored on a fly ball by Cade Shaddix with one out in the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie and Mitch Welch made it stand by getting Etowah in order to give Alexandria a split of their doubleheader. The Valley Cubs lost a 5-3 lead, but forced extra innings on Brennan Brown’s game-tying two-out single in the seventh. Welch gave up one hit and struck out seven over the last 4 2/3 to get the win. The second-ranked Blue Devils used a six-run fourth inning to take control of the opener.
Game One
Alexandria     000 002 0 – 2 7 3
Etowah           010 600 x – 7 11 2
WP: Kameron Wilson. LP: Dylan DiGangi. 2B: Noah Primm (A), Ryan Taylor (A), Daniel Sieber (E).
Game Two
Alexandria     200 300 101 – 7 9 1
Etowah           201 021 000 – 6 7 5
WP: Mitch Welch. LP: Tyler Bush. 2B:  Noah Primm (A), Layton Ellison (A), Will Hotalen (E).
Hokes Bluff 11-11, White Plains 6-1: The top-ranked Eagles erased a two-run White Plains lead with a seven-run fifth in the opener and walked off in the nightcap with a five-run sixth. Winning pitcher Payton Lemons highlighted the big inning in the opener with a two-run single that put the Eagles in front for good. Coleman Messer had two hits for White Plains in the first game.
Game One
White Plains  001 320 0 – 6 6 2
Hokes Bluff    003 170 x – 11 7 2
WP: Payton Lemons. LP: Brendan Roper. 2B: Drake Rainey (H).
Game Two
White Plains  000 100 – 1 5 3
Hokes Bluff    020 315 – 11 5 1
WP: Caleb McGinnis. LP: Logan Knight.
Jacksonville 3-7, Cherokee County 2-9: Courtesy runner Jae-Taj Morris raced home on  Brandon Charping’s sacrifice fly with two outs in the seventh to give the Golden Eagles a walkoff win in the opener. In the nightcap, Cherokee County scored five in the top of the seventh to erase a 7-4 deficit lead.
Game One
Cherokee County        000 001 1 – 2 4 1
Jacksonville                 011 000  1 — 3  3  1
WP: Brandon Charping. LP: Ethan Tillery S: Austin Patterson. 2B: Ian Edwards (CC). 3B: Brandon Heard (J)
Game Two
Cherokee County      102 010 5 – 9 10 6
Jacksonville                111 103 0 – 7 8 3
WP:  Connor Wilson. LP: Dalton McElroy, S: Ian Edwards. 2B: Ethan Johnson 2 (CC), Dylan Murphy (J)
Ohatchee 9, Weaver 5: Grayson Alward had two doubles and three RBIs and pitched a complete game in what Indians coach Blake Jennings called his team’s first complete game of the season. Jadon Calhoun went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Weaver. 
Weaver           010 110 2 – 5 10 3
Ohatchee        230 103 x – 9 8 0
WP: Grayson Alward. LP: Jadon Calhoun. 2B: Jadon Calhoun (W), Grayson Alward 2 (O), Konnor Baswell (O).
Donoho 11, Jacksonville Christian 3: Hall Billings went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, winning pitcher Seth Ford went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and both homered in the Falcons’ 11-hit attack.
Billings hit a three-run homer in the fifth and also had a pair of doubles. Ford hit a solo homer in the fourth. On the mound, Ford threw a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out nine. Jonathan Carter hit a three-run homer in the fourth to get JCA within 4-3, before the Falcons pulled away in the bottom of the inning.
JCA      000 300 0 – 3 5 3
Donoho  202 331 x – 11 11 1
WP: Seth Ford. LP: Brady Shaddix. 2B: Hall Billings 2 (D). 3B: Reid Willamon (D). HR: Jonathan Carter (J), Seth Ford (D), Hall Billings (D).
Clay Central 5-0, Munford 0-10: Clay Central’s Shae Cronin threw a complete-game five-hitter in the opener and Munford’s Dakota Green threw a complete-game two-hitter in the nightcap.
Cronin threw 81 pitches in his gem, 63 for strikes. He faced the minimum through 3 1/3. The Vols supported him with nine hits. Boyd Ogles went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Noah Higgins went 2-for-4.
Green faced only two batters over the minimum. He struck out the first four batters and retired the first eight. He also went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a two-run homer in the second and three RBIs at the plate.
Game One
Clay Central   003 202 0 – 5 9 2
Munford         000 000 0 – 0 5 3
WP: Shae Cronin. LP: Dawson Strickland. 2B: Dakota Green (M)
Game Two
Clay Central   000 000 – 0 2 2
Munford         323 011 – 10 12 1
WP: Dakota Green. LP: Tanner Hurst. 2B: Corben Smith (M), Cannon Brasher (M), Dakota Green 2 (M).

Cleburne County 19, Talladega 6: Cole McElroy went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, Devin Hicks had three hits and Mack Humphries had three RBIs to lead Cleburne County. The Tigers broke it open with a 10-run fourth inning highlighted by two Reese Morrison stand-up RBI triples.
Cleburne County       045 (10)0 – 19 15 0
Talladega                   005 01 – 6 4 4
WP: Brayden Moore. LP: Luis Diego-Avendano. 2B: Mack Humphries 2 (CC), Devin Hicks (CC), Porter Embry (CC), Jerrius Curry (T). 3B: Cole McElroy (CC), Reese Morrison 2 (CC).
Victory Christian 12, Faith Christian 0: The Lions hit three of their six extra-base hits and took advantage of all three Faith errors to score seven runs in the second inning. Brodie Dodson had three of Faith Christian’s four hits.

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