E.A. Sports Today

Baseball playoffs

Patterson’s perfect game helps Alexandria cruise into second round in 5A. Oxford makes quick work of visiting Parker to advance to second round in Class 6A. Donoho sweeps Southeastern, and Munford sweeps Geneva.

Friday’s games

Oxford 17-17, Parker 0-0. Oxford (27-9) advances

Alexandria 14-14, Douglas 0-0. Alexandria (24-8) advances.
Southside 7-4, Arab 6-5. Game 3 Saturday, 1 p.m.
Headland 5-15, Central-Clay 4-2. Central-Clay eliminated.

North Jackson 10-12, Jacksonville 1-9. Jacksonville eliminated
Munford 14-9, Geneva 0-7. Munford (21-7) advances
Andalusia 8-4, Handley 5-2. Handley eliminated

Donoho 4-1, Southeastern 3-0. Donoho (13-12) advances
Cottonwood 10-10, Ranburne 6-1. Ranburne eliminated

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

ALEXANDRIA — Alexandria has long had the pitching. It seems almost unfair to add so much offense.

Tripp Patterson’s perfect game and Andrew Allen’s three-hitter Friday highlighted a night which saw Alexandria continue to do what it’s done since its spring-break trip … match offense with great pitching.

Alexandria’s Tripp Patterson comes out of his windup against Douglas during Friday’s Game 2 of a first-round Class 5A playoff series at Alexandria. (Photo by Joe Medley)

The Valley Cubs swept their best-of-3 Class 5A first-round playoff series with Douglas, 14-0 and 14-0.

Top-ranked Alexandria (24-8) will play the John Carroll-Lawrence County winner in a second-round series starting Thursday. The Valley Cubs would play John Carroll at home and travel to play Lawrence County.

Starting with 10-6 victory over St. Paul’s Episcopal on March 28, Alexandria has averaged 11.7 runs over 11 games. The Valley Cubs scored double-digit runs in eight of those games.

Second-year Alexandria coach Zac Welch sees it as natural development for a senior-laden team.

“If you look at how the season is structured, the Big Leagues, they take 100 to 150 at bats in South Florida before the season gets going,” Welch said. “I’m not sure that we were supposed to be at our best early on.

“Now that we’ve had 100, 120 at bats, we’re about ready to say, this is who we are and how we hit it, and I think we’re just hitting our stride. We’ve seen enough pitching. We’ve seen enough breaking balls, and lefties, and rights and all the things that we need to be good.”

Pitching remains Alexandria’s bedrock, and that’s why Douglas left Alexandria with exactly three hits more than it brought there.

Patterson struck out 11 batters over six innings in Game 2. Appropriately, he ended the game with a fast-paced, three-pitch strikeout … the perfect ending for the perfect game.

“I knew I had one about the third inning,” Patterson said. “It was easy to attack the hitters tonight because we got up early.

“Honestly, when the bats are rolling like that, it makes my job a whole lot easier.”

His catcher, Aiden Brunner, went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, and Ian Cartwright went 1-for-2 with a run and three RBIs.

Ty Brown had the offensive highlight, tripling then scoring with the help of an error. He and Samuel Henegar had two RBIs apiece.

Cover photo: Ty Brown celebrates after scoring on a triple plus an error in Alexandria’s 14-0 victory over Douglas in Game 2 of their first-round Class 5A playoff series at Alexandria on Friday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

“As a team, we had a lot of energy,” Brunner said. “That kind of rubbed off on him (Patterson) and how he pitched, I think.”

Like Patterson, Allen struck out 11 batters. Like Patterson, Allen had lots of offensive backing.

After one half of an inning, Allen reported back to the dugout in a 0-0 game. He reported back to the mound in the top of the second inning with a 13-0 lead.

The performance marked Allen’s most recent step back after he missed five weeks earlier this season with a surgical knee injury.

Alexandria’s Andrew Allen delivers against Douglas during Friday’s Game 1 of a best-of-3 Class 5A first-round playoff series at Alexandria. (Photo by Joe Medley)

“It’s just really good to get him back healthy,” Welch said. “I feel like he’s really coming back into his stride.

“He’s finally getting back to the Allen of old, and that’s really good to see for the team in orange and black.”

Cartwright went 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs in Game 1, and Eli Barnes had a single and three RBIs.

Brodie Slaton went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs, and Henegar was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and two RBIs. Brown had a double and two RBIs, and Nic Thompson had a single and an RBI.

Class 6A

OXFORD 17-17, PARKER 0-0: Defending Class 6A state champion Oxford began Friday answering the question of whether it can match its unbeaten romp through the 2023 playoffs.

So far, so good.

Reminiscent of the Yellow Jackets’ first-round series with Center Point in the 2023 playoffs, Oxford opened the 2024 playoffs with a sweep of Parker at Choccolocco Park.

Second-ranked Oxford (27-9) advanced to face the Buckhorn-Huffman winner in next week’s second-round action.

R.J. Brooks and James Tapley combined to pitch a one-hitter in Friday’s Game 1. Brooks got the win, striking out 10 batters in four innings.

Carter Johnson went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and four RBIs, and Reid Maniscalco went 2-for-2 with a triple, a run and two RBIs.

Rocco Maniscalco went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, and Kainen Bozeman was 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI.

Nick Richardson went 2-for-2 with two runs.

In Game 2, Richardson worked 4 2/3 innings for the win, allowing one hit with five strikeouts. He also went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

Tide Gann was 3-for-3 with a run and three RBIs, and Bozeman was 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and three RBIs.

Forrest Heacock had a double, a run and an RBI, and Johnson was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

Class 4A

MUNFORD 14-9, GENEVA 0-7: B.J. Anderson pitched a one-hitter with seven strikeouts in Game 1, and Munford rallied from a 7-4 deficit with five runs in the Lions’ final two at bats to win Game 2 in eight innings and advance.

Munford will the Bibb County-T.R. Miller winner in the second round.

Lathan Stephens wielded the hot bat in Game 1, going 3-for-4 with a double, a run and six RBIs. Braydon Nichols went 2-for-2 with a double, a run and two RBIs, and David Pettus had a single and two RBIs.

Mason Brewer had two triples, a run and an RBI, and Gatlin Watts was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs.

In Game 2, Munford took the lead on Austin Wynn’s two-run single in the top of the eighth. A two-run error plus Watts’ RBI single keyed the Lions’ three-run seventh inning.

Watts got the win, striking out four batters and allowing one hit in the final 2 2/3 innings.

Class 2A

DONOHO 4-1, SOUTHEASTERN 3-0: Donoho (13-12) ran its winning streak to six games and advanced to play host to Whitesburg Christian in the second round.

Peyton Webb’s home run and two RBIs helped the Falcons build a 4-0 lead in Game 1, and they held off a Southeastern rally.

Blake Sewell got the complete-game win, striking out eight batters and allowing three hits through seven innings.

Kai Cleckler had a double and scored a run, and Brody Macolly singled and drove in a run.

Hayes Farrell pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in Game 2 and went 2-for-3 with a double and the game’s lone RBI. Webb doubled and scored a run.

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