E.A. Sports Today

Thursday playoffs

Donoho earns spot in semifinals with sweep; Jacksonville, Alexandria swept, marking final game of Shaw’s 30-year coaching tenure for the Cubs

Slade Haney was brilliant again on the mound for Donoho. In three playoff starts this year, the senior right-hander has given up only five hits and one unearned run. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Thursday’s playoff scores
Donoho 6-16, Covenant Christian 1-8
Etowah 12-9, Jacksonville 2-1
Madison Academy 9-4, Alexandria 6-0

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Slade Haney pitched his usual gem in the first game and the three newest members of the Donoho lineup went a combined 7-for-13 with 11 RBIs in the nightcap as Donoho swept Covenant Christian 6-1 and 16-8 to reach the Class 1A semifinals for the second year in a row.

The Falcons (21-5) will travel to Lindsay Lane (26-6) next week to play for a spot in the championship round. Bayshore Christian, the team that beat Donoho in last year’s finals, secured one of the semifinal slots in the South.

“Anytime you’re one of the four teams left in the state you’ve accomplished a lot,” Donoho coach Steve Gendron said. “I’m super excited for our guys. They played well today.”

In the opener, Haney gave up three hits, an unearned run and struck out seven. The Falcons gave him a 2-0 lead in the first on Lucas Elliott’s RBI double and Blake Sewell’s run-scoring single and never looked back.

In three playoff starts (18 2/3 innings), the senior right-hander has given up five hits, one unearned run and struck out 23. For the year he is 9-1 with an 0.64 ERA

After getting eight hits in the opener, the Falcons’ bats came back to life in the nightcap, pounding 16 hits and two more homers (Nic Thompson and Peyton Webb). They trailed 2-0 after one inning, but regained control of the game with four in the third and broke it open with nine in the sixth.

Newcomers Blake Sewell, Webb and Kai Cleckler – the 5-6-7 hitters in the lineup – combined for seven hits and 11 RBIs. Webb’s homer was his fifth in five playoff games.

“One of our assistant coaches said after the game those guys have been with us for four months, so you’re not a newcomer anymore, you’re a Falcon,” Gendron said. 

Game 1
Covenant              001 000 0 – 1 3 3
Donoho                  200 031 x – 6 8 1
WP: Slade Haney. LP: Cayden Smith. 2B: Nic Thompson, Peyton Webb, Lucas Elliott.

Game 2
Donoho                  004 309 0 – 16 16 0
Covenant              201 005 x –   8    9 2
WP: Blake Sewell. LP: Henry Glover. 2B: Kai Cleckler (D), Blake Sewell (D), Slade Haney (D), Nic Thompson (D), Peyton Webb (D). HR: Nic Thompson (D), Peyton Webb (D), Alex Glover (C), J.M. Basinger (C).

Jacksonville’s Grant Patterson flashes a smile at teammate Drew Pridgen (16) after scoring a run in the sixth inning of their playoff opener against Etowah. (Photo by Necorra Harris)

Class 4A: End of long run

JACKSONVILLE — Jamison Edwards sounded a lot like football coach Dennis Green talking about a certain NFL team after Etowah swept his Jacksonville baseball team out of the Class 4A playoffs 12-2 and 9-1 at Henry Farm Park.

The Blue Devils (26-12) hit, ran, pitched and made plays in the field to advance to the state semifinals.  next week. The speed was the first thing you noticed. They stole 14 bases in the first game, 19 in the doubleheader.

“They were exactly who everybody I talked to said they were,” Edwards said. “The scouting report on them was coach, you’d better be able to field a bunt, you’d better be able to control the run game because there’s speed all over …

“That group over there, they just straight-up beat us. And they did it playing their game and we couldn’t do anything about it.”

Etowah scored in every inning but the fifth in the opener and took the lead when Caleb Freeman homered the next pitch after the Golden Eagles (19-12) dropped a foul pop behind the plate that would have been the third out of the inning.

The Blue Devils jumped out front in the nightcap with four in the first. After that early frenzy, Grant Patterson came in and gave Jacksonville 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief before Etowah extended its lead in the late innings.

All the while the Blue Devils kept Jacksonville off the board with strong pitching and near flawless defense. Four pitchers held the Golden Eagles to six hits in the opener and Freeman, who threw a no-hitter in his last start, pitched five innings of shutout ball in the nightcap.

“Not only did they make the routine plays, but they made the spectacular plays,” Edwards said. “They made every play they were supposed to make and then the ones that crush your soul.”

Game 1
Etowah                  231 401 1 – 12 8 1
Jacksonville         001 001 0 –   2 6 8
WP: Jameson Scissum. LP: Kody Willingham. 2B: Brandon Boatwright (E), Andrew Pierce (E), Trace Thompson (E), Grant Patterson (J), Tito Canales (J). HR: Caleb Freeman (E).

Game 2
Jacksonville         000 001 0 – 1 4 2
Etowah                  400 032 x – 9 9 3
WP: Caleb Freeman. LP: Nick Salmon. 2B: Jameson Scissum 2 (E), Caleb Freeman (E).

Etowah’s Andrew Pierce slides into the bag just ahead of Jacksonville third baseman Jim Ogle’s tag. (Photo by Necorra Harris)

Class 5A: End of an era

MADISON — Madison Academy scored all its runs in the opener in the first three innings, answering runs put up by the Cubs each time, and Josh Bybee threw a four-hit shutout in the nightcap in a 9-6, 4-0 series sweep that closed Alexandria coach Andy Shaw’s 30-year tenure with the school.

Shaw told his players the night Alexandria clinched the area championship he was going to retire at the end of the season. The Cubs (24-15) extended their coach’s stay into the third round of the playoffs. Longtime assistant coach Zac Welch is the presumptive successor.

The Cubs struck first on Sam Henegar’s RBI double in the first, but the Mustangs answered in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs scored again in the second on Aaron Johnson’s ground out, but this time the Mustangs answered with five to take the lead for good.

Henegar scored on a passed ball in the third, but Madison Academy responded with three more. The Cubs closed to 9-6 on a run-scoring ground out and Johnson’s two-run single.

The whole tenor of the series flipped for the Cubs when shortstop and team leader Sam Wade suffered an arm injury on a bang-bang play in the second inning of the opener and left the game.

In the second game, Bybee held Alexandria to one hit through the first four innings. The Cubs had several runners in scoring position, but only two got as far as third.

The Mustangs (29-13) will play the winner of the Leeds-Russellville series in the semifinals.

Game 1
Alexandria                          111 030 0 – 6   7 2
Madison Academy            153 000 x – 9 11 0
WP: Matt Manley. LP: Andrew Allen. 2B: Aiden Brunner (A), Samuel Henegar (A), Carson Creehan (MA).

Game 2
Madison Academy            101 010 1 – 4 6 0
Alexandria                          000 000 0 – 0 4 2
WP: Josh Bybee. LP: Tripp Patterson. HR: Alex Wade (MA).

Playoff scores

Sweet Water 3-3, Millry 2-4 (Game 3, Fri., 4 p.m.)
Bayshore Christian 10-17, Berry 0-0 (Bayshore Christian (25-5) wins series 2-0)
Lindsay Lane 10-10, Appalachian 2-3 (Lindsay Lane (26-6) wins series 2-0)
Donoho 6-16, Covenant Christian 1-8  (Donoho (21-5) wins series 2-1)

Fayetteville (18-11) at Ariton (18-14), Fri., May 6, 4:30 and 7 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)
G.W. Long 7-6, Vincent 0-4 (G.W. Long (30-6) wins series 2-0)
Decatur Heritage 11-6, Westbrook Christian 1-0 (Decatur Heritage (28-8) wins series 2-0)
Mars Hill Bible 13-7, Ider 3-2 (Mars Hill Bible (27-5) wins series 2-0)

Trinity Presbyterian 7-8, Opp 3-5 (Trinity Presbyterian (29-5) wins series 2-0)
Thomasville (18-10) at Bayside Academy (21-10), Fri., May 6, 4:30 and 7 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)
Phil Campbell 5-1-10, Elkmont 3-6-0 (Phil Campbell (29-6) wins series 2-1)
Piedmont 7-8, Lauderdale County 0-5 (Piedmont (33-4) wins series 2-0)

Gordo (26-5) 12-10, Montevallo 0-3 (Gordo (26-5) wins series 2-0)
Mobile Christian (29-4) 9-6, Bibb County 0-4 (Mobile Christian (29-4) wins series 2-0)
Hamilton 0-3, Brooks 1-2 (Game 3, Fri., 5:30 p.m.)
Etowah 12-9, Jacksonville 2-1 (Etowah wins series 2-0)
Holtville (30-5) at UMS-Wright (19-12), Fri., May 6, 4:30 and 7 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)
Shelby County 2-2, Headland 3-1, game 1, 8 innings (Game 3, Fri.., 11 a.m.)
Leeds (28-8) at Russellville (29-11),  Fri., May 6, 4:30 and 7 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)
Madison Academy 9-4, Alexandria 6-0 (Madison Academy (20-13) wins series 2-0)

Stanhope Elmore (26-12) at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (21-12), Fri., May 6, 4:30 and 7 p.m. (Fri., 1 p.m., if needed)
Hueytown (29-10) at Pelham (14-15-1), Fri., May 6, 5 and 7:30 p.m. (Sat., noon, if needed)
Hartselle (33-4) at Buckhorn (26-10), Fri., May 6, 5 and 7:30 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)
Hazel Green (23-14) at Chelsea (21-13), Fri., May 6, 4:30 and 7 p.m. (Sat., noon, if needed)

Central-Phenix City 13-9, Baker 7-0 (Central-Phenix City (31-8) wins series 2-0) 
Alma Bryant (20-16) at Auburn (27-6), Fri., May 6, 5 and 7:30 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)
Bob Jones (35-8) at Vestavia Hills (22-15), Fri., May 6, 5 and 7:30 p.m. (Sat., 2 p.m., if needed)
Hewitt-Trussville (26-3-1) at James Clemens (23-18), Fri., May 6, 5 and 7:30 p.m. (Sat., 1 p.m., if needed)

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