E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs persevere

Piedmont rallies in late innings of nightcap to score third straight playoff sweep and reach 3A semifinals; Homesley, Smith ‘lights out’ on mound

Phil Campbell 6-3, Elkmont 1-5
Piedmont 7-8, Lauderdale County 0-5

By East Alabama Sports Today

ROGERSVILLE – Before the start of every series the Piedmont baseball team gets together for a little devotional that’s centered around a word or concept of the day.

The word this week was perseverance and the Bulldogs were the picture of just that Wednesday in beating Lauderdale County 7-0 and 8-5 to sweep their Class 3A quarterfinals playoff series.

Jake Austin ripped a go-ahead triple in the sixth inning and Sloan Smith pitched five innings of one-hit shutout relief as the Bulldogs extended their winning streak to 27 in a row. Brodie Homesley pitched a two-hit complete-game shutout in the opener to run his record to 8-0.

The Bulldogs (33-4) await the winner of Thursday’s Game 3 between Phil Campbell and Elkmont in the semifinals.

“It’s kind of ironic because we try to do a devotional thing before we leave and before every series, so today before we left it was about perseverance,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “I said, guys, at some point in time we’re going to be put in a tough situation this series; this team’s too good not to.

“Sloan Smith was the definition of perseverance tonight. That guy’s been lights out. He hasn’t pitched since Westbrook. He threw one inning against Westbrook. It took a lot of guts for him to go out there and do what he did out tonight. He was really, really efficient. He’s been a role player all year and when his number was called tonight, by God, he persevered.”

Smith entered the game in the third with the Bulldogs trailing 4-2. He gave up a run in the third as the result of his error, but then retired the next seven in a row before giving up a leadoff single in the sixth and faced only three batters above his minimum on 54 pitches.

“I wanted to give my team the best chance I could for us to win,” an emotional Smith said. “I don’t deserve any of the credit. My guys in the field, they did nothing but make excellent plays in the field. I can think of one error and it was mine. We kept a level head through the highs and lows, kind of like the season’s been.”

The Bulldogs tied the nightcap on Smith’s two-run single in the fifth, then broke it open with three in the sixth. Austin broke the tie with his triple and then came in himself on a passed ball.

In the opener, Homesley faced four batters over the minimum, gave up two hits and struck out six on 92 pitches. He retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.

The offense had only five hits, but three of them were doubles. Jack Hayes had a two-run double and Jake Austin doubled home a run in a four-run fourth that broke it open. 

The Bulldogs have allowed five earned runs and 17 hits in their six playoff wins.

Game 1
Piedmont           010 402 0 – 7 5 1

Lauderdale Co. 000 000 0 – 0 2 5
WP: Brodie Homesley. LP: Ethan Hamm. 2B: Jack Hayes (P), Noah Reedy (P), Jake Austin (P), Brody Covington (LC).

Game 2
Lauderdale Co. 131 000 0 – 5 2 3

Piedmont           110 123 x – 8 9 2
WP: Sloan Smith. LP: Brodey Lentz. 2B: Austin Estes (P). 3B: Jake Austin (P).

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