E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs sweep to semis

Piedmont sweeps Westminster Christian to earn a spot in North Alabama 3A finals; Donoho swept by Mars Hill
AHSAA Playoffs
Thursday’s results
Spring Garden (25-4) 4-11, Heritage Christian (16-12) 3-1
Mars Hill Bible (28-6) 12-9, Donoho (16-9) 0-0 
Brantley (25-6) 6, Millry (28-5) 5
Sweet Water (22-10) 12-4, Holy Spirit Catholic (15-5), 2-0

Cedar Bluff (19-10) 15-7, Decatur Heritage (23-7) 4-13
Westbrook Christian (21-12) 14-11, Red Bay (20-11) 1-1
G.W. Long (30-5) 5-8, Leroy (22-14) 4-2

Piedmont (33-8) 6-4, Westminster Christian (16-18) 3-1
Winfield (34-7) 5-7, Phil Campbell (32-8) 6-2
Mobile Christian (22-11) 5-2, Trinity Presbyterian (27-8) 2-2
Madison Academy (20-23) 11-6, Boaz (18-14) 2-2


Cullman (24-13) 11-3, Hazel Green (27-16) 9-8
Benjamin Russell (27-13) 10-3, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (29-5) 11-2
Chelsea (24-14) 6-12, Russell County (37-4), 8-7

Hewitt-Trussville (31-7) 4-1, at Florence (21-20) 1-0

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
PIEDMONT — Mason Mohon says when it comes to playoff baseball you’ve got to be a different kind of player.
Mohon has been on a different plane in the playoffs and he was the difference in Piedmont’s 6-3 Game 1 win over Westminster Christian Thursday.The Bulldogs completed a sweep of the Class 3A playoff series in the nightcap a short time later, winning 4-1 with three runs in the sixth inning,
They now await the winner of Friday’s Phil Campbell-Winfield Game 3 to discover their opponent in the North Alabama title series.If Phil Campbell wins, the series is in Piedmont. If Winfield wins, Thursday will have been the Bulldogs’ last home stand of the season.
“I struggled in the beginning of the season … but when the playoffs come around we’ve got to be different people in the playoffs,” Mohon said. “That’s what I try to be. Do what I’ve got to do to win. During the season we, of course, wanted to win, but the playoffs just bring out the dog in you. If you play for Piedmont you’ve got to have that dog in you, so in the playoffs you’ve got to play better.”
Mohon’s two-out, two-run single in the fourth snapped a 3-3 tie and put the Bulldogs (33-8) up for good in the first game. He singled in an insurance run with two outs in the sixth and wound up going 3-for-4. The Wildcats rallied to tie the game 2-2 and 3-3.
“I’ve been at Piedmont for 16 years now,” Bulldogs coach Matt Deerman said. “When I first got here they always made me nervous. When we’d go out and just play a regular season game, I’m like these guys don’t get up. But it seems like every time there’s a big game – an area game, a playoff game – when the lights come on they turn it on. 

“It’s a different motor that gets going. The bigger the situation, the bigger the guys show up. They’ll make you nervous in a game against a nobody … and if we do have a lapse it’s like we’ll get them next game.”
The Bulldogs weren’t their sharpest in Game 2 – six errors – but they didn’t need that “next game”to make up for it.
Westminster tied it 1-1 in the fourth after some loose play in the field by the Bulldogs., but the Area 9 champions took control with three in the sixth. Piedmont’s first five batters of the inning all reached base. Jack Hayes singled home the go-ahead run, Nick Johnson singled home an insurance run and Cassius Fairs scored the last run on a wild pitch. 

The momentum of the game swung an inning earlier when the Bulldogs turned a nifty 1-3-2 double play, cutting down Jackson Billings with the go-ahead run at the plate even after pitcher Bruce Walter looked Billings back to third.
“That was great, I loved it; it really gave me that momentum that I needed,” Walter said. “At first I didn’t think I had my best stuff, but after that double play my adrenaline kicked in and I felt I was throwing it pretty good.”
Walter retired the last seven batters he faced after that for his eighth win of the season. He threw 87 pitches, gave up four hits and struck out seven.
“We had our backs against the wall a couple times and really battled and showed a lot of really good leadership and found ways to win,” Deerman said. “We didn’t play our A game and still found a way to win. After we got out of the jam (in the fifth) I called them together and they woke up.”
Game 1
Westminster    002 100 0 – 3 6 1
Piedmont         021 201 x – 6 8 3
WP: Logan Pruitt. LP: Walker Hamilton. 2B: Brooks Rhinehardt (W), Bryce Walter (P).
Game 2
Piedmont         001 003 0 – 4 6 6
Westminster    000 100 0 – 1 4 3
WP: Bryce Walter. LP: Nathan Wilson.

Spring Garden sweeps

SPRING GARDEN – Junior pitcher Colby Slayton was cruising right along Thursday in Game One of Spring Garden’s Class 1A quarterfinal series against Heritage Christian. He held the Eagles scoreless through six innings, and up to that point, just one hit. 

However, Slayton ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh. He gave up a leadoff double to second baseman Joe Roy Curren and with one out designated hitter Andrew Watson blasted what was ruled a two-run homer to left center to cut the Panther lead to a run. Catcher Austin Sanford then doubled to right and scored on third baseman Kohl Jolly’s single to left to tie the game at 3. 

That prompted a visit to the mound by Spring Garden head coach Barrett Ragsdale. 

“He got in a jam,” Ragsdale said. “I told him ‘You’re down to nine pitches. I need an out.’ He said ‘I’ve got it.’ That’s what you want to hear, so I left him out there.” 

Slayton responded by retiring the next two Eagle batters. Then for good measure, he delivered a walk-off single to left that scored Panther leadoff batter Chaz Pope. The Panthers won Game One 4-3 and the late drama carried over into Game Two, 11-1,
With the sweep, Spring Garden (25-4) advances to the state semifinals for the second straight season. The Panthers will host Mars Hill Bible (30-6) next weekend with a trip to Montgomery on the line.
“I just had confidence I could get those last outs,” Slayton said. “I was throwing them fastballs at the end, and they started hitting them, but my arm was feeling pretty good today. I knew my defense had my back.” 
The Panthers’ bats came alive in Game Two. They batted around in the second inning and scored five runs, with the big blows coming on a pair of two-run singles by Luke Ivey and Slayton. Ryley Kirk also singled home a run in the inning. 

Spring Garden tacked on two more runs in the top of the third, one in the sixth and three more in the seventh. 

Weston Kirk earned the win, giving up a run on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Ryley Kirk went 3-for-4 and drove in a run. Ivey was 2-for-4 with a walk and drove in three runs. Catcher Luke Welsh delivered a two-run triple and had two doubles. – Shannon Fagan

Donoho crashes into Mars (Hill)

FLORENCE – Mars Hill held Donoho scoreless over 13 innings and held it to six hits in sweeping their Class 1A third-round playoff series, 9-0 and 12-0.
The Falcons were held to two hits in the opener – a double by Jase Alderman and a single by Hall Billings – and Mars Hill opened a 7-0 lead after three innings. Billings got their first hit on a one-out single in the fifth. Alderman got his hit with one out in the sixth.
The Falcons had four hits in the nightcap. Reid Williamon had a triple in the first inning and Billings, Grayson Marlowe and Edwin Connell had singles. It was a 6-0 game after four innings, then the Panthers broke it open with six in the sixth.

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