E.A. Sports Today

Saturday baseball

PV rallies to complete sweeps of Wellborn, Weaver; Cubs’ Comer throws another gem as teams get games in before coronavirus shutdown
 
Saturday’s baseball scores
Alexandria 6, Westbrook Christian 0
Faith Christian 10-24, Coosa Christian 0-10
Jacksonville 12, Lincoln 11 (8 inn.)
Pleasant Valley 5, Wellborn 4 (8 inn.)
Pleasant Valley 12-9, Weaver 2-7
Russellville 8, Alexandria 6
Spring Garden 4-8, Ohatchee 1-2
 
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
 
Nick Burns gathered his Wellborn baseball team in the outfield grass after a particularly heartbreaking loss Saturday afternoon. 
 
He didn’t go to each player individually and shake a hand as you might if this were the last game of the year – and contrary to the common-sense hygiene of these uncertain coronavirus times. Instead, he told the Panthers to remain positive and grasp the message that was wrapped in the day.
 
If this were indeed the Panthers last game of the year, it will go down in the books as a 5-4 eight-inning loss to Pleasant Valley in a game they led after six.
 
It may not have been their last game of the season, or even their last game of the foreseeable future, but there’s no guarantee with weather coming back in they’ll be able to get in the hastily adjusted area series with Saks Monday and Tuesday before schools statewide shutdown for 2½ weeks to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
 
“It’s been a crazy year with the weather and this whole circumstance here and these kids have busted their tails,” Burns said. “What I told my kids I took away from this is more along the lines of life than baseball. Play every day, live every day, like it’s your last because, honestly, in this circumstance you never know when it will.
 
“That’s what I talked to the team about yesterday. Never take for granted the opportunities that you get because in these circumstances and life in general you never know when you’re not going to have those opportunities any more. Right now, we’re doing everything day-to-day.
 
“One of our main things here is to stay positive, stay focused, stay up. We’re going to believe the positive that we’re going to come back and play.”
 
The Panthers could have gotten another game in had they beaten the Raiders to force a third-game tiebreaker in the area series. That would have really stretched Pleasant Valley’s pitching as the Raiders scheduled an area doubleheader with Weaver later that evening as they strived to gain the best position possible not knowing the AHSAA’s playoff contingency plan for when schools return April 6.
 
The Raiders won those two games, 12-2 and 9-7 in eight innings. Colby Nelson and Drake Hardy both homered and Brody Phillips struck out eight in five innings in the first game. Nelson’s two-run single in the eighth put them ahead in the nightcap after they tied the game on an error in the seventh. Phillips pitched in all three games, his most demanding day since coming back from Tommy John surgery.
 
The Raiders put distance between themselves and the Panthers by rallying from a 4-2 deficit after six innings. They tied it in the seventh on Nelson’s two-run double Wellborn center fielder Tanner McQueen lost in the high sky. They went ahead 5-4 in the eighth on Jake Upton’s RBI single up the middle.
 
Pelham Parris pitched seven good innings, giving up six hits and striking out nine, but came out in the eighth after reaching his pitch limit. Phillips closed it out by striking out the last two hitters on six pitches.
 
Nelson was 4-for-8 with six RBIs in the three games.
 
“I’m leaving my legacy for all the underclassmen to follow and I want to go out with these last two wins if these are our last two games and I just want to make the most of it,” Nelson said after the Wellborn game. “If it’s the last game, that’s the last game. I’m just going to give it my all every game.”
 
Phillips threw 78 total pitches in his three appearances. He got a win and a save, giving up four hits, three runs and striking out 16 in eight total innings.
 
“It’s my senior year and I’m looking forward to just playing ball,” Phillips said. “I missed all last year so it’s exciting to get to play, get to throw on the mound again. I’m going out having fun, like it’s my last. I want things back to normal so I can go out on a good note. It’s only the end ‘til I make it the end. However long time the Lord blesses us with playing ball is how long I’m going to play.”
 
The sweep of Weaver put the Raiders at 4-2 in area play, a solid second place if the season ended today, two games behind undefeated area leader Piedmont (4-0) in the loss column and two games ahead of Weaver (2-2) in the win column.They are scheduled to play non-area opponents Alexandria and Ohatchee on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, before the shutdown. Piedmont and Weaver are going to try to play an area series Monday and Tuesday as well.
 
“At the end of the day I wanted to give our guys a chance to control their own destiny and play ball,” PV coach Chris Youngman said. “Coaches across the state are trying to do that. Our state has done a really good job of how they conducted (the stoppage); I’m really proud of our state association for that. It is what it is right now. We tried to get in what we could get in and take care of the part we can control and were able to come out of today 3-0 to put ourselves in good position.
 
“It’s very hard to play two games in a day. Playing three, we asked a lot of our guys. I told them it was going to be a long day, take them one at a time and that’s what they did. I asked them last night this is the situation I need to know if you’re up to the challenge to do this tomorrow. It’d be daunting, exhausting, are you up for it? They said heck yeah just give us a chance to play.”

Pleasant Valley  100 001 21 – 5 8 4
Wellborn              300 001 00 – 4 6 4
WP: Pelham Parris. LP: Will Waldrop. 2B: Dalton Page (PV), Colby Nelson (PV), Will Waldrop (W).
 
Weaver                 200 00 – 2 4 5
Pleasant Valley  336 0x – 12 9 0
WP: Brody Phillips. LP: Austin Bryant. 2B: Austin Bryant (W), Brody Phillips 2 (PV). HR: Drake Hardy (PV), Colby Nelson (PV).

Pleasant Valley  042 000 12 – 9 10 3
Weaver                500 101 00 – 7 8 4
WP: Dalton McElroy. LP: Jackson Williams. 2B: Austin Bryant (W), Ethan Moncus (W), Taylor Thompson (W), Dalton Page (PV), Pelham Parris (PV), Braydon Maye (PV). 3B: Drake Hardy (PV).
 
Alexandria 2, Westbrook Christian 0: Landon Comer pitched like it was the last time he was ever going to take the mound for the Valley Cubs. Given the uncertainty of the schools coronavirus shutdown next week, it might be.
 
Comer pitched a complete-game six-hit shutout and struck out eight, winning a pitching duel over Westbrook’s Andrew Dutton.
 
“To be honest, I went into today like any other day, just going out there and doing what I can for the team,” Comer said. “I didn’t even really think about it being my last game because I hope I get to pitch in college.
 
“I have been thinking about that (last high school game) since we’ll be out the next two weeks. I was thinking it may be my last start as a high school pitcher. It motivated me a lot. I was determined to get my last win if this is my last game, my last win as a high school pitcher.”
 
It’s been a good and efficient year for the senior right-hander. He hasn’t given up an earned run in his last four starts or his last 29 1/3 innings and has allowed only two earned runs all season (0.42 ERA). He has 34 strikeouts and has yet to walk a batter in 33 total innings. Going into the game he had been averaging 11.8 pitches per inning and 2.4 pitches per batter.
 
Dutton, the North MVP of last year’s North-South All-Star Game and a Birmingham Southern signee, was equally as impressive., giving up five hits and striking out two. Dylan DiGangi singled home a run in the third and Connor Norris doubled home a run in the sixth. 
 
Westbrook           000 000 0 – 0 6 2
Alexandria           001 001 x – 2 5 0
WP: Landon Comer. LP: Andrew Dutton. 2B: Connor Norris (A).
 
Russellville 8, Alexandria 6:The cousins both joined their respective varsity teams as eighth graders, play the same position (catcher) and if Saturday was indeed the last time they’re on the field, they both went out with a bang.
 
Mitch Welch hit his second home run of the season and eighth of his career in the third inning for the Valley Cubs’ first run of the game. It came moments after cousin catcher Millie Burt drilled a two-run homer in the fifth inning to give the softball team a 4-2 lead over Spring Garden. 
 
“I think it’s just the bloodline,” Welch said. “Me and Millie are pretty close. We always work pretty hard. We always try to put the work in and never hold anything back.”
 
It might be the first time they’ve homered on the same day, and it came on what might be their last games before the state-mandate shutdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
 
“I think it was just God doing it,” Welch said. “He might have said it’s our last day or end it on a good note.”
 
Welch was the Cubs starting pitcher and held Russellville hitless for 3 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts, but the Golden Tigers staged a two-out rally in the fourth to tie the game and after the Cubs regained the lead in the bottom of the inning took a 6-5 lead in the fifth.
 
Russellville          000 332 0 – 8 10 2
Alexandria           003 200 1 – 6 8 1
WP: Emitt Green. LP: Wesley Wright. 2B: Canyon Pace (R), Will Rogers (R), John David Bishop (R), Jacob McCulley (A), Cade Shaddix (A), Dylan DiGangi (A), Ben McNew (A). HR: Mitch Welch (A).

Faith Christian 10-24, Coosa Christian 0-10: Brodie Dodson pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout in the first game and the Lions hit five home runs in the nightcap to sweep their area doubleheader. The Lions hit seven homers in the twinbill.
 
Colton Pahman homered twice in the nightcap and drove in five runs and pitched 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief to get the win. Dodson, Alex Almanza and Stone Huie also homered the game. Dodson was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, Huie was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and Almanza was 2-for-2 with four RBIs. The Lions came from behind twice to take the lead, then broke it open with 12 runs in the fourth.
 
Josh Rutledge and Stone Huie both homered and had two hits in the opener. The Lions broke a scoreless tie with seven runs in the fifth. Dodson gave up three singles and struck out eight. He allowed only two runners past first base.

“We took about a thousand hacks the last two days,” Faith coach Jason Pahman said. “We knew we had been struggling a little at the plate with our approach and got a lot of things corrected today.

“We had confidence today and barreled them up and got what we needed to get our first series win since at least 2014.”

Coosa     000 000 – 0 3 0
Faith       000 073 – 10 13 0
WP: Brodie Dodson. LP: John David Justus. 2B: Walker Whitworth (F). HR: Josh Rutledge (F), Stone Huie (F).
 
Coosa     325 00 – 10 8 4
Faith       273 (12)x – 24 15 0
WP: Colton Pahman. LP: Brody Nelson. 2B: Dartarion Brittam (C), Walker Whitworth 2 (F), Brodie Dodson (F), Chase Gibbins (F). 3B: Carston Lipcomb (C). HR: Brodie Dodson (F), Alex Almanza (F), Colton Pahman 2 (F), Stone Huie (F).
 
Jacksonville 12, Lincoln 11: Dreylan Fomby’s RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth capped a four-run Golden Eagles rally after Lincoln took a 11-8 lead in the top of the inning.
 
Fomby’s single came after courtesy Jacoby Zackery moved to third on Josh Joiner’s ground out to the right side of the infield. It followed Dakoda Willingham’s game-tying two-run run single. Luke Jackson singled home the Golden Eagles’ first run of the inning.
 
The game-winning hit turned Fomby into the winning pitcher. He was on the mound for Lincoln’s last two runs, but then put out the fire by getting the next three batters on two strikeouts and a ground out. He was the Golden Eagles’ sixth pitcher.
 
Jae-Taj Morris, Willingham and Fomby all had two hits and two RBIs for the Golden Eagles. Luke Jackson and Joiner both had two hits and Coleman Oliver had two RBIs.
 
Lincoln                  212 003 03 – 11 8 4
Jacksonville         041 300 04 – 12 14 7
WP: Dreylan Fomby. LP: Jordan New. 2B: Landon Smith (L), Tristian Payton (L), Luke Jackson (J), Jae-Taj Morris (J). 3B: Zach Hardy (L).

Spring Garden 4-8, Ohatchee 1-2: Weston Kirk pitched 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief in the opener and homered in the nightcap as the Panthers swept a doubleheader.
 
Kirk came on behind started Jackson Maddox and held the Indians to two singles and struck out three in the opener. Luke Welch’s RBI double capped a three-run sixth inning that gave him the lead.
 
Chaz Pope’s three-run homer in the second gave Spring Garden the lead in the nightcap. Kirk hit a leadoff homer in the third.
 
Spring Garden    000 003 1 – 4 3 2
Ohatchee              001 000 0 – 1 5 2
WP: Weston Kirk. LP: Blake Ogle. 2B: Luke Welsh.
 
Spring Garden    032 210 0 – 8 10 3
Ohatchee              002 000 1 – 3 5 3
WP: Cameron Welsh. LP: Konnor Baswell. 2B: Konnor Baswell (O), Cade Williamson (O). HR: Weston Kirk (SG), Chaz Pope (SG).
 

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