E.A. Sports Today

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Undefeated Piedmont blanks Saks on a one-hitter in what could be its last game before coronavirus stoppage 

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
PIEDMONT – The Piedmont Bulldogs are off to the best start in their baseball history. There’s a real sense they can have a special season, perhaps ending with a football-baseball state championship double.
And now this.
If the Bulldogs did play their last game of the season Friday, it couldn’t have ended better. Noah Reedy drove in four runs and three pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout in an 11-0 area victory over Saks. The top-ranked Bulldogs are 15-0 and 4-0 in Class 3A Area 9.
“It’s definitely been a special year so far,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “We could see (the stoppage) coming, it’s just a shame for these kids; that’s all I know to say. I keep referring back to the seniors, this is their last rodeo. They’ve been part of some really good teams. I think when the dust settles, if we were to finish up this season under normal circumstances without the interruption they could have been the winningest (four-year) class.
“It’s sad, it really is. I told them before the game this might be the last game they ever play; that’s the way it is. It’s out of our hands. You’ve got to keep working. Even though we’re not going to be able to work and practice together as a team you’ve got to work on your own and continue to do the things that have gotten us where we are on your own for when we come back.”
The Bulldogs were already leading 9-0 in the third inning when Gov. Kay Ivey announced all public schools in the state would be shut down for 2½ weeks on March 18 in an effort to reduce to spread of coronavirus. They scored five in the first and were in the process of scoring four more in the third when the governor’s press conference began.
“We found out in the middle of the game,” Deerman said. “We didn’t tell the kids until after the game and you could see the devastation on their faces. We as adult try to say the right things and try to keep their spirits up, but you could see it.
“Bruce (Mohon) and Brant (Deerman), these seniors, have poured so much into it, just the thought of them thinking it might be it, you could see how heartbroken they were. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but at the same time you’ve got to keep their spirit up. Hopefully this will pass through and we have a chance to finish this out.”
The state is looking at April 6 as a target to re-open, but there’s also a recommendation that resumption of school-sponsored sports and other activities be delayed until the end of the month and there’s no guarantee it will ever return. The college ranks have suspended play for the year in all its spring sports.

The AHSAA has a playoff contingency plan it expects to unveil early next week but previously had encouraged its teams to make every effort to play their required area games before any stoppage.
To that end, the Bulldogs weren’t scheduled to play again until March 19, but they’ve rearranged their schedule to get another area series in before the shutdown. They’ve moved the doubleheader of their Weaver series to Monday at home with the third game Tuesday at Weaver, but that could all get wiped out as more rain is predicted.

Additionally, Pleasant Valley will complete its area series at Wellborn Saturday with a potential doubleheader starting at 11 a.m., then play another area doubleheader at home with Weaver starting at 4. Saks and Wellborn will play an area doubleheader Monday.
The bottom half of the Bulldogs’ lineup provided the most damage, with spots 5 through 8 combining to go 9-for-11 with seven RBIs. Jack Hayes was 3-for-3, Silas Thompson 2-for-3, Reedy 2-for-3 with four RBIs and Ethan Swinford 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Reedy had a run-scoring ground out in the first, a two-run triple in the third and an RBI double in the fourth.
Austin Estes, Thompson and Cassius Fairs combined on the one-hitter with 10 strikeouts. The only hit they allowed was Taylor Fields’ two-out single in the third off Estes. They allowed only one runner past first base.
Saks     000 00 – 0 1 5
Piedmont 504 2x – 11 11 0
WP: Austin Estes. LP: Mason Jairrels. 2B: Silas Thompson (P), Ethan Swinford (P), Noah Reedy (P). 3B: Noah Reedy (P).

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