E.A. Sports Today

That winning feeling

Choccolocco Monsters experience victory for first time in exhibition game with Columbus, Spivey hits team’s first homer

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Sure, it was only a seven-inning exhibition game and by the time the playoffs get here it will be long forgotten, but the Choccolocco Monsters can claim their first victory as a franchise after they beat the Columbus Chatt-a-Hoots 4-1 Sunday in Golden Park.

Day Two on the field for the Sunbelt Baseball League’s newest franchise was a lot better than opening night when the Monsters were swept in a doubleheader. They banged out eight hits, including their first home run, led the game wire-to-wire, stole four bases and got strong outings from all three pitchers.

“The outcome is great and I think it was the result of the guys taking a deep breath,” Monsters manager Steve Gillispie said. “A win there and the way we went about it was very business-like. We came out and were good on the mound, were good defensively and had a couple timely hits … against one of the teams that will probably be favored to be at the top of the league.

“That outcome serves to show when we do things like we’ve talked about doing them then we’ll compete in this league and have a chance to be pretty good.”

Former White Plains and Oxford catcher Jake Spivey (AUM) hit the franchise’s first home, a solo shot in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 3-1. Dom Scavone and Oxford’s Dawson Winningham (Southern Union) had two hits apiece.

Starting pitcher Harris Burns (Wallace State) pitched three shutout innings and closer Brock Hill (South Alabama) threw two scoreless innings on the back end. At one point, Burns and middle reliever Daniel Swatek (Shelton State) retired 10 in a row.

“A lot of these summer ball teams have been around for years, (so) to get that first win for a club is pretty fun,” Scavone said. “We haven’t known each other that long, working out all these kinks, but we’re looking to get on a roll here now soon.”

Scavone, an infielder from Stetson, played role in each of the Monsters’ first two runs. His infield single in the first put runners at the corners before Tanner Martin produced their first lead in franchise history with an RBI single. He scored their second run on Winningham’s RBI single in the fourth.

Piedmont’s Brant Deerman (Chattahoochie Valley) drove in their other run with a single in the seventh. The Monsters were 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position Sunday after going 1-for-11 in the doubleheader. 

“Familiarity breeds confidence,” Gillispie said. “They were used to what things would be like (after Saturday) and we had a chance to be in a better routine. It was an exhale. We just played baseball.”

The teams play a nine-inning exhibition game at Choccolocco Park Wednesday, then will be the last two teams to open the regular season Friday at The Big House. Gillespie expects “to throw our best local arms” in those games.

Monsters 4, Chatt-a-Hoots 1
Choccolocco       100 100 2 – 4 8 0

Columbus            000 010 0 – 1 8 1
WP: Harris Burns. LP: Brad Grasser. 2B: J.D. Day (Col). HR: Jake Spivey (Choc).

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