E.A. Sports Today

Game 3 payback

Piedmont’s Mohon sharp avenging last year’s playoff loss, Bulldogs go to third round of playoffs with school-record 31 victories
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
ROGERSVILLE – Mason Mohon remembered that feeling when Lauderdale County beat him in the playoffs last year to force a winner-take-all Game 3. He carried it with him all season. It his sole motivation when he got the ball against the Tigers in Game 3 Saturday afternoon.
The senior Piedmont right-hander frustrated the Tigers at every turn, pitching a complete-game as the Bulldogs scored a 9-1 victory to win the series and advance in the Class 3A baseball playoffs. With the school-record 31stwin, the Bulldogs (31-8) now host Westminster Christian starting Friday.
The Tigers roughed up Mohon for nine runs on seven hits over five innings last year. He gave up seven hits Saturday, but the only run he allowed came on a two-out infield out in the sixth inning. He threw 93 pitches, 56 for strikes and had only three outs that left the infield.
“It’s always good to win Game 3,” Mohon said. “They won against me last year and I kind of thought of this as a revenge game. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder from last year’s game and went into this game with something to prove to them and we got it done as team.
“We were all mad because of last year. We went out in the third round when we thought we shouldn’t have. We came in (today) all gas, no brakes. I did my best and my team did their best and we came out with the win.”
Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said Mohon was “absolutely outstanding.” Whenever he got in a jam, he got out of it with no or minimal damage.
“Mason hasn’t pitched as much as he did last year because he’s so valuable to us at short,” Deerman said. “I knew he could handle the pressure situation; the situations he had in football he always prevailed. He was battle-tested and I felt really good going into it. The only thing that made me nervous was he hadn’t thrown much in a while, but he had that look in his eye today. I knew he was ready. He pitched outstanding.”
Mohon faced his biggest threat in the fifth with the Bulldogs leading 6-0. The Tigers loaded with the bases with hard-hitting catcher Slade Brown coming to the plate. Brown was 5-, who was 5-for-7 in the series at the time, coming to the plate. But Mohon induced him into a tailor-made double play turned smoothly by Brant Deerman and Bryce Walter that effectively finished the Tigers for the game.
“It took the air out of them, you could see it,” Matt Deerman said. “That was definitely the turning point in the game and sealed the deal for us … I was very, very pleased with our defensive play today.”
The offense wasn’t too shabby either. Walter hit a two-run, opposite-field homer in the second inning to open the scoring and was 3-for-3 with three RBIs. He followed Jack Hayes’ two-run double with an RBI single in the third that made it 5-0. Mohon’s second double of the game made it 6-0 in the fourth and Deerman’s two-run homer highlighted a three-run sixth.
The meat of the Bulldogs’ order – Mohon, Sean Smith, Hayes and Walter – combined for nine hits and six RBIs. Walter’s homer was the second opposite-field shot among the four he has hit this season.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I don’t remember how many outs there were, but Sean was on third base and I just wanted to get him in to take the lead and just got lucky, I guess.”
This was the third year in a row the teams played a Game 3. The previous two were in the third round and the winner of the series eventually went on to play for the state championship. Deerman wouldn’t bite when asked if this was a similar predictor.
“Right now we’re focused on Westminster; we’re not gonna look that far down the road,” he said. “We’ve got a tough task ahead of us in Westminster. We’ll enjoy this one and then we’ll look at this week.”
Piedmont         023 103 0 – 9 12 1
Lauderdale Co 000 001 0 – 1 7 2
WP: Mason Mohon. LP: Dayne Palmer. 2B: Bryce Walter (P), Sean Smith (P), Mason Mohon 2 (P), Jack Hayes (P), Alex Newton (LC). HR: Bryce Walter (P), Brant Deerman (P).

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