E.A. Sports Today

Major milestone

Ohatchee coach Jennings earns 100th all-time win in sweep of Glencoe; Oxford clinches area title, Alexandria, Piedmont sweep twinbills, and more

Ohatchee baseball coach Blake Jennings (L) earned his 100th career coaching victory during the Indians’ doubleheader sweep of Glencoe Wednesday.

Wednesday’s baseball scores
Alexandria 5-10, Moody 0-4
Donoho 7, Randolph County 5
Ohatchee 2-14, Glencoe 0-5
Oxford 7-8, Pell City 3-2
Piedmont 16-11 Pleasant Valley 1-1
Ragland 10-1, Faith Christian 8-2
White Plains 12-4, Cherokee County 0-7

By East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE – The ‘100’ jersey Ohatchee presented to softball coach Kendall Poe last week when she secured her 100th career coaching victory made another appearance Wednesday night.

Baseball coach Blake Jennings got the royal treatment this time — and 100 Baby Ruth candy bars — after scoring his 100th career victory during the Indians’ doubleheader sweep of Glencoe.

Jennings reached the milestone in the opener, 2-0, behind a brilliant pitching performance from Konnor Baswell and then completed the series sweep in the nightcap 14-5.

All of Jennings’ victories – like Poe’s in softball – have come at Ohatchee.

“It means a lot just because I’ve had good kids the whole time throughout this thing,” the eighth-year head coach said. “It was a struggle early, but the longer we’ve been here it’s gotten more and more fun every year because we’ve built that culture. 

“When we got here it was tough, we knew it would be, but we’ve got a bunch of tough kids. Having great kids, that’s what gets you 100 wins.”

The latest two moved the Indians within one win of a Class 3A playoff berth.

Baswell pitched a complete-game two-hit shutout in the opener and the Indians pushed across single runs in the sixth and seventh innings off Kade Crowder.

They scored the first run on Jake Roberts’ sacrifice fly and the second run on a wild pitch. Roberts, who made an impact in Game 2 as well, was seeing his first action since missing a month with a broken arm. 

Baswell threw 109 pitches, walked five and struck out four. The only hits he allowed were a leadoff single to Carson Naylor in the first and one-out single to Naylor in the fifth.

“Konnor pitched unbelievably,” Jennings said.

Win No. 101 was a little harder to get. The Indians rallied from an early 5-2 deficit to tie the game in the third, took the lead in the fourth when Devin Howell scored from third on a wild pitch and pulled away with four runs in the fifth.

Grayson Kellett drove in all five Glencoe runs with homers in his first two at bats. After the second homer, Carson Tittle and Roberts held the Yellow Jackets to two hits and got seven of their combined 11 strikeouts.

“I didn’t realize that,” Jennings said. “I told Carson next game you need to throw about 50 warmup pitches because he seems to get stronger as he goes along. Jake threw really well, too, and I’m glad to have that back.”

The Indians were missing one of their regulars, Bryce Noah, because of illness. They inserted Brock England at second base and he played nearly flawless in the field despite never having played the position before.

Alexandria 5-10, Moody 0-4: Alexandria made the most of five hits and Jonathan West pitched a complete-game six-hit shutout as the Valley Cubs won Game 1 of their doubleheader to clinch a Class 5A playoff spot.

West and Moody’s Andrew Goodwin were locked in a pitching duel before the Cubs sealed it with three runs in the seventh inning. Zack Baskins singled home the first run of the inning with his second hit of the game, Sam Wade scored on a passed ball and Ian Cartwright delivered a sacrifice fly.

West threw 87 pitches in his gem, didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. He allowed only two runners past second base and faced down his only jam – runners at second and third with one out in the fifth inning of a 1-0 game – with a pop out and strikeout.

The Cubs scored nine runs in the first three innings to take control of the nightcap. Wade had two hits and two RBIs. Caleb McCulley also had two hits. Cubs starter Andrew Allen struck out 10 in five innings.

Piedmont 16-11 Pleasant Valley 1-1: Austin Estes pitched a five-inning no-hitter in the first game and Noah Reedy gave up only two hits in the nightcap.

Sean Smith and Jadon Calhoun both homered in the opener. Smith had two hits and three RBIs and Jakari Foster had two hits and two RBIs.

Estes walked one and hit two batters. He lost the shutout in the fourth on a walk, wild pitch, balk and infield out.

In the nightcap, the Bulldogs scored eight runs in the first after giving up a run in the top of the inning. They sent 12 batters to the plate in the big inning, with Jadon Calhoun delivering the big blow, a two-run double. Five different players drove in runs that inning.

Oxford 7-8, Pell City 3-2: The Yellow Jackets scored their first three runs in R.J. Brooks’ second-inning at bat without a ball going any farther than the pitcher’s mound to build an early lead and went on to win the opener to clinch the Class 6A Area 13 championship.

The Jackets loaded the bases in the second and scored their first two runs on the same passed ball and then Brooks dropped a squeeze bunt that was fielded by the pitcher to score another run.

Pell City cut the margin to 4-3 in the fifth, but the Jackets answered with two in the bottom of the inning to create some separation. Peyton Watts singled home a run and Hayes Harrison’s sacrifice fly plated the other.

Carter Johnson, Chance Griner and Trey Mooney had two hits apiece for the Jackets. Carter pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief behind Watts.

In the nightcap, Trey Higgins hit a leadoff homer and Johnson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Johnson’s two-run single in the fourth gave Oxford a 7-2 lead.

Ragland 10, Faith Christian 8: The Lions’ bid for their first playoff berth since 2012 got a little more complicated after Ragland scored three runs in the top of the eighth after Faith tied the game in the home seventh.

The loss gave Ragland a two-game sweep of the competitive portion of the series and Faith 4-4 in area play. The Lions will need a Donoho sweep of Ragland next week to make the playoffs.

Colton Pahman hit two homers for Faith in the opener. He hit a two-run shot in the first to tie the game 2-2 – matching Owen Schall’s two-run shot in the top of the inning – and a solo shot in the fifth to get the Lions within 6-5. He now has 38 RBIs this season.

The Lions rallied three times to tie the game, but couldn’t get it a fourth time. They scored twice in the seventh to tie the game 7-7, but had a runner thrown out at the plate and had the winning run in scoring position with two outs but couldn’t get him home.

Ragland took a 10-7 lead in the eighth on Jake Donaldson’s RBI double and a two-run double by Jakolbe Brewster that knocked down the leftfield fence. 

The teams played the second game of the doubleheader and Faith won 2-1. Andrew Folsom hit a two-run homer for the Lions in the first inning. Joshua Phillips hit a solo homer for Ragland in the third.

Donoho 7, Randolph County 5: Judson Billings and Blake Willingham both homered and Willingham gave the Falcons six solid innings on the mound.

Billings hit a three-run homer in the fourth to give the Falcons a 4-2 lead and Willingham homered leading off a three-run sixth. The Falcons had six extra-base hits in the game.

White Plains 12-4, Cherokee County 0-7: The Wildcats were eliminated from playoff contention by the second-game loss. Jacksonville and Cherokee County will play for the area championship next week.

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