E.A. Sports Today

Staying alive

Piedmont bounces back from first game shutout to win nightcap, force Game 3 with Phil Campbell for trip to state finals

Tuesday’s games
Piedmont 0-16, Phil Campbell 10-9 (series tied, 1-1)
Wednesday’s games
Trinity Presbyterian at Thomasville, 5 p.m.
Piedmont at Phil Campbell, Game 3, 4 p.m.
Mobile Christian at Gordo, 4 p.m.
Hamilton at Etowah, 5 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PHIL CAMPBELL – Phil Campbell may have ended Piedmont’s 27-game winning streak in the first game of Tuesday’s Class 3A state semifinal doubleheader, but the Bulldogs weren’t going to let their record-breaking season end without a fight.

After getting shutout 10-0 on one hit in the opener, the Bulldogs’ bats came to life in the nightcap and they won 16-9 to force a winner-take-all Game 3 here Wednesday at 4 p.m. for a spot in the state championship series.

The Bobcats (30-8) are expected to throw Alabama commitment Mason Swinney. The Bulldogs (34-5) haven’t named their Game 3 starter but have several options available with Estes, Cassius Fairs and Noah Reedy among them.

“Winning that game was big,” senior shortstop Austin Estes said. “Coach (Matt) Deerman and them preach to us we don’t have to go 2-0, we don’t have to sweep, we just have to win two games out of the three. Tonight we won one and we’ll be back here tomorrow.

“I’m just super proud of the way the team came back after a bad loss. I think we did a really good job of answering and we’re ready for tomorrow.”

The Bulldogs fell behind 5-0 in the nightcap before they started their comeback. They got three in the second, then broke on top for good with seven in the fourth. 

Estes hit a game-tying three-run homer and before the inning was over Jack Hayes, McClane Mohon and Sloan Smith added RBI singles.

“I think it was a big momentum change,” Estes said of his homer. “I think it really got us going. It was a fastball outside and I just kind of took it that way.

“The game before we were kind of down, I’m not gonna lie, but that (second) game it just seemed like we never stopped. We never got down. I think we did a great job in that game and I think that’s all it takes – good leadership and teamwork. That’s what the coaches have been preaching to us all year and I think we did a really good job of that that last game.”

The Bulldogs led 13-9 in the sixth and then Hayes blasted a three-run homer to put the game out of reach.

Estes went 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Hayes went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Smith, Reedy, Fairs and Mohon all had two hits apiece.

Estes and Smith also both gave the Bulldogs 1 2/3 innings of strong relief to keep the Bobcats at bay.

“Confidence, that was our word this week,” Deerman said. “I felt like last year when we came over here we didn’t play with confidence. We were down three men and banged up and so I didn’t think we came into that series last year thinking we could win it. That was kind of our motto this week, play with confidence.

“We didn’t start off that way. We played six or seven bad innings, then we finally started playing Piedmont baseball. We found a way. We kept battling, kept battling, cut the lead in half and finally had a big inning and took the lead. Once we did that, we got the confidence we were looking for.”

Cam Habada pitched the first game for Phil Campbell and the only hit he allowed was Mohon’s leadoff double in the second inning. He threw only 58 pitches in the five-inning game, so he started Game 2 and threw 50 pitches before getting pulled in the fourth after Estes’ game-tying homer.

Game 1
Piedmont             000 00  –    0  1  1
Phil Campbell    325 0x  –  10  9  0
WP: Cam Habada. LP: Brodie Homesley. 2B: McClane Mohon (P), Kyle Pace (PC). HR: Bryant Hyde (PC).

Game 2
Phil Campbell    320 103 0 –   9  10  4
Piedmont             030 724 x – 16  15  4
WP: Austin Estes. LP: Cole Pace. 2B: Bryant Hyde (PC), Austin Estes (P), McClane Mohon (P), Noah Reedy (P). HR: Austin Estes (P), Jack Hayes (P).

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