E.A. Sports Today

Calhoun County baseball

After a long, drama-filled day of quarterfinals and semifinals, top seed Oxford and No. 2 Alexandria get through to championship round.

Cover photo: Alexandria players charge toward Ian Cartwright after he hit the walk-off RBI single to beat Piedmont 4-3 in the first of two Calhoun County semifinals Monday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)


(All games at Choccolocco Park)
Saturday, March 2
No. 11 Jacksonville Christian 3, No. 14 Anniston 0
No. 6 Donoho 8, JCA 0
No. 12 Weaver 7, No. 13 Saks 4
No. 5 Pleasant Valley 6 Weaver 4
No. 7 Ohatchee 14, No. 10 Faith Christian 2
No. 8 White Plains 11, No. 9 Wellborn 1
Monday, March 4
No. 2 Alexandria 8, Ohatchee 1
No. 3 Piedmont 10, Donoho 6
No. 1 Oxford 12, White Plains 2
No. 4 Jacksonville 5, Pleasant Valley 4
Alexandria 4, Piedmont 3
Oxford 5, Jacksonville 1
Thursday, March 7
No. 1 Oxford vs. No. 2 Alexandria, 7 p.m.


ALEXANDRIA 4, PIEDMONT 3: Alexandria rallied for three runs in the sixth inning to tie the game, and Ian Cartwright’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh touched off a field rush from Alexandria’s dugout.

The No. 2 seed Valley Cubs earned a berth in the final against either top seed Oxford on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Cartwright’s game-winning hit completed an Alexandria comeback after the Valley Cubs struggled to hit Piedmont’s Brodie Homesley for five innings.

“Really, it was just doing my best for me team,” he said. “We’re a family here, so I wanted the ball. I wanted to be at the plate with a runner in scoring position, and my team gave it to me, and I just tried to do my best with it, and the pitcher gave me a pitch I could handle.”

Ty Brown capped Alexandria’s sixth-inning rally with a ball that got by Piedmont center fielder Trevor Pike, who attempted a diving play, and rolled to the fence. Brown rounded the bases to tie the game, and Aiden Brunner scored ahead of him.

Brown was credited with a triple plus an error.

Alexandria’s sixth-inning rally also saw Aiden Brunner single and benefit from an error on a similar play … an attempted dive and a ball that rolled to the fence. Brunner’s hit scored pinch hitter Zach Baskins, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

“It was a good game,” Alexandria coach Zac Welch said. “I’m glad we found a little fight at the end, in about our 11th hour of the day, and it was a team win top to bottom. Everybody contributed. Can’t be prouder for them.”

Piedmont took a 3-0 lead with three runs in the fifth inning. The rally started with to walks, and McClane Mohon’s grounder got the first run home. Pike followed with a two-run single.

“They took advantage of our mistakes,” Piedmont coach Matt Deerman said. “That’s always been Alexandria’s thing. You make mistakes, and they make you pay for it.

“I thought Homesley pitched his tail off. They made some really good plays in clutch situations and got themselves out of it, and the kid at the end of the game gets a hit with two outs. That’s a tough way to lose one.”

OXFORD 5, JACKSONVILLE 1: Hudson Gilman worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk with four strikeouts, and Oxford capped a long day with a victory that carried to 11:15 p.m.

It was the sixth county-tourney game of the day, with all games playing out back-to-back on Choccolocco Park’s signature field. The first game started at 9 a.m., and the last game, scheduled for 7 p.m., started much later than that.

Oxford beat White Plains in the 1 p.m. game then Jacksonville in the night cap. The defending champion and top seed will play No. 2 Alexandria on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Rain forced cancellation of Friday’s games, which moved to Saturday. Wet pod fields forced Saturday’s slate to play out like Monday’s … six games, back-to-back on the better draining signature field.

Forecasts of rain on Tuesday prompted organizers to back the semifinals into Monday, along with the quarterfinals.

Teams that played in the quarterfinals and semifinals had a long day. For Oxford, it started after third period in the Yellow Jackets’ school day.

“We kind of had a hang-around period, for us to get food, get dressed and head over to the field,” R.J. Brooks said. “We had to ride the bus over. I’m pretty sure it was a school-hours thing where we had to ride the bus.

“We played the first game, knocked it out. Then we had to ride the bus back to the new facility, get our cars, and then it was a down period for us, just kind of a little period to reset from game one, take a deep breath and get ready for game 2.”

As games ran behind schedule, the Yellow Jackets waited at teammate Tide Gann’s house.

As for the Jacksonville game, Brooks went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. Canaan Whitman had a single and RBI, and Carter Johnson and Rocco Maniscalco drove in a run apiece.

“The story of the game was Hudson Gilman on the mound,” first-year Oxford coach Travis Janssen said. “That was his first outing of the year, and I was very happy with how he performed. He threw a lot of strikes and looked super confident and super in control out there.

“Offensively, it’s only five runs, but I thought we took advantage of opportunities.”

Jacksonville’s brightest spot came in the top of the seventh inning, when the Golden Eagles drew two walks and got a single from Matthew Salmon ahead of Kingston Peeler’s run-scoring grounder.

Jacksonville came from behind to beat No. 5 Pleasant Valley 5-4 earlier Monday, but Golden Eagles coach Jamison Edwards saw improvement against Oxford.

“We did a much better job of competing in this game against Oxford,” he said. “I did not like the way we competed in the Pleasant Valley game. I didn’t think our at bats were competitive enough. I didn’t think we were competitive enough on the mound, and we challenged them after that game. …

“We challenged them to be more competitive, because we knew, if we weren’t, this group (Oxford) had the potential to run this thing up on us.”

Oxford plans to pitch “some combination of Brooks, Nick Richardson and maybe Carter Johnson” against Alexandria, Janssen said.


ALEXANDRIA 8, OHATCHEE 1: Alexandria got all eight runs on one hit, seven walks, an error and a wild pitch in the second inning and advanced to the 5 p.m. semifinal against Piedmont.

Alexandria got a hit apiece from Brodie Slaton, Ty Brown, Evan Snow and Eli Barnes and an RBI apiece from Slaton, Brown, Snow and Aiden Brunner.

Starter Brayton Goode worked six innings, allowing three hits with 13 strikeouts and one walk.

Ohatchee outhit Alexandria 5-4. Xavier Luna went 2-for-3 with a run, and Jesse Baswell hit an RBI double in the third inning.

PIEDMONT 10, DONOHO 6: Piedmont scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead for good and earn a shot at Alexandria in the 5 p.m. semifinal.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth and scored the first two runs on walks. McClane Mohon followed with a two-run single.

Mohon got the win in relief, pitching 1 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk with two strikeouts. He also went 3-for-3 with a run and two RBIs.

Brodie Homesley went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI, and Jakson Howard had two RBIs.

Donoho scored five runs in the top of the first to take a 5-0 lead. Hayes Farrell’s two-run double was the big blow, and Brodie Macolly hit an RBI single. It’s 5-0.

Piedmont scored two runs on a wild pitch in the fifth to take a 6-5 lead, and Donoho tie the game 6-6 on Peyton Webb’s RBI single.

Farrell went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, and Macolly was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

OXFORD 12, WHITE PLAINS 2: White Plains pushed top-seeded Oxford for five innings, but the Yellow Jackets put up six runs in the bottom of the sixth and walked it off on Rocco Maniscalco’s RBI double.

The Yellow Jackets advanced to play Jacksonville in the 7 p.m. semifinal.

White Plains closed to within 3-2 in the top of the fifth, when Braxton Curles’ laid down a bunt single that resulted in two runs.

Oxford answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Forrest Heacock’s two-run double was the big blow.

Nick Richardson went 3-for-3 with a double, four runs and an RBI. R.J. Brooks and Maniscalco had two hits apiece, and Carter Johnson went 1-for-1 with two runs and three RBIs.

White Plains started Coleman Ray had a solid outing, allowing four hits and three earned runs with one strikeout over five innings.

Oxford starter Colton Partem allowed five hits and two earned runs with five strikeouts in five innings. Canaan Whitman pitched perfect inning of relief with one strikeout.

JACKSONVILLE 5, PLEASANT VALLEY 4: Gavin Peeler delivered and two-out, two-strike single in the bottom of the seventh to left-center field, scoring Zay Lemon from second pass with the winning run.

No. 4 seed Jacksonville earned a shot at top seed Oxford in Monday’s second semifinal.

Peeler’s hit completed Jacksonville’s comeback from a 4-1 deficit. A Lemon run-scoring single was part of the Golden Eagles’ two-run fifth inning to close within 4-3, and Matthew Salmon’s single tied it 4-4 in the sixth.

Pleasant Valley left the bases loaded in the sixth inning and left one on in the seventh.

The Raiders got a run in the second inning and two in the third to build a 3-0 lead, and Will Underwood’s grounder scored a run to make it 4-1 in the fifth.

Logan Williams went 3-for-3 with a double, and Underwood was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

For Jacksonville, Lemon went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Peeler was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

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