E.A. Sports Today

Staying alive

Piedmont earns doubleheader split with seventh-inning Game 2 rally; Game 3 Friday at 1 p.m.

Bayshore Christian (25-8) at Brantley (23-10), Friday
Donoho 6-2, Sumiton Christian 4-1 (Donoho wins series)
G.W. Long 7-11-11, Ariton 8-0-3 (G.W. Long wins series)
Westbrook Christian 2-8-12, Mars Hill Bible 5-0-7 (Westbrook wins series)
Bayside Academy (25-7) at Providence Christian (24-11), Friday
Piedmont 0-7, Phil Campbell 13-6 (Game 3, Friday, 1 p.m.)
Mobile Christian 1-9, American Christian 0-2 (Mobile Christian wins series)
North Jackson (30-8) at Oneonta (23-6), Friday
Pike Road 9-4-11, St. Paul’s Episcopal 5-5-0 (Pike Road wins series)
Russellville 6-4-8, Madison Academy 4-9-2 (Russellville wins series)
Faith Academy 4-8, Northridge 1-4 (Faith Academy wins series)
Chelsea 1-2, Hartselle 5-1 (Game 3, Friday, 5 p.m.)
Auburn (32-6) at Central-Phenix City (32-6) , Friday
Florence 8-1, Hoover 1-3 (Game 3, Friday, 5 p.m.)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PHIL CAMPBELL – Piedmont’s season was down to its last bats, but the Bulldogs refused to go quietly and now they live to play another day.

The state’s second-ranked team in Class 3A scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh on a bases-loaded smash by Jakari Foster and throwing error to beat Phil Campbell 7-6 and earn a split of the first two games of their best-of-3 semifinal playoff series.

Phil Campbell won the opener 13-0 in five innings.

The teams will play for a berth in the Class 3A state championship series here Friday at 1 p.m. The winner will face either Providence Christian or Bayside Academy in the state championship series next week in Montgomery.

“That’s the thing about this team,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “A lot of people ask why we’re good year in and year out. I think that’s a characteristic of all our teams: As long as there’s still an out they think they have a chance.

“The competitiveness is something that’s hard to teach; I think our kids really have that. They weren’t ready for it to be over. They thought they had a chance to the last inning and proved it.”

The Bulldogs (34-6) trailed 6-4 going into the home seventh after Phil Campbell (37-5) scored what seemed to be an insurance run in the top of the inning.

Jack Hayes and Sean Smith got the rally started with back-to-back singles. Hayes delivered his single on a 3-2 pitch after appearing to get hit with the pitch prior but brought back to the box when the umpire ruled he didn’t make an effort to avoid the pitch.

The Bobcats changed pitchers, bringing in Mason Swinney, who threw 74 pitches in a Game 1 one-hitter. Swinney hit Jadon Calhoun to load the bases, bringing Foster to the plate.

The senior outfielder fell behind in the count 0-2. He took a ball, then hit a smash to short that caromed off the arm of shortstop Luke Barnwell into center field. Hayes and Smith scored, and when centerfielder Bryant Hyde tried to get Calhoun at third his throw sailed over the fence sending the winning run home.

“Getting that at bat with those runners on the bases was just like a regular at bat – change nothing and just stay back and be on time to hit the ball,” Foster said. “I had to be real disciplined at the plate at (0-2). I waited on that fastball and smashed it to the shortstop.

“(Swinney) was pretty good that first game. He’s going to Alabama and offers don’t mean nothing. It’s the way you play, so I wasn’t going to go up there and be scared because of that.”

“Down 1-2 and find a way to put it in play, against a guy who’s a really good arm, that’s what I mean by competitiveness,” Deerman said. “He could’ve easy tucked his tail and said I can’t hit this guy, but he found a way.”

The Bulldogs fell behind in the nightcap 4-0. They scored a run in the third on Hayes’ RBI single, then tied it in the fourth on McClane Mohon’s bases-loaded double that cleared the bases in some eerie foreshadowing of the way it ended.

Two runs scored on the initial hit and Cassius Fairs scored the tying run on the throw from left fielder Hunter Baker.

The Game 2 rally brought a positive end to an otherwise difficult day for the Bulldogs. They gave up an eight-run inning in the first game, managed only one hit and four base runners in the first game and were charged with 13 errors in the twinbill.

Of the 19 runs Phil Campbell scored in the doubleheader, 10 were earned.

Hayes had Piedmont’s only hit in Game 1, a one-out single in the first inning. The Bulldogs put runners at second and third in the inning, but Swinney got out of it with a strikeout and ground out. Swinney retired 14 of the 15 batters he faced after the hit.

Game 1
Phil Campbell 13, Piedmont 0
Piedmont             000 00 –   0    1   8

Phil Campbell    008 5x – 13  10   1
WP: Mason Swinney. LP: Jadon Calhoun. 2B: Trey Leindecker (PC), Bryant Anthony (PC). HR: Mason Swinney.

Game 2
Piedmont 7, Phil Campbell 6
Phil Campbell    301 010 1 – 6 7 3

Piedmont             001 300 3 – 7 8 5
WP: Jack Hayes. LP: Mason Swinney. 2B: Levi Crittenden (PC), Bryant Anthony (PC), Ridge Raper (PC), McClane Mohon (P).

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