Making the most – EA Sports Today

Three of top four seeds, defending champion Piedmont advance to Calhoun County Tournament semifinals

Saturday’s games
No. 8 Pleasant Valley 14, No. 9 Wellborn 7
No. 4 Donoho 7, White Plains 0
No. 2 Alexandria 13, Saks 2
Piedmont 9, No. 3 Jacksonville 7 (8 inns.)
No. 1 Oxford 5, Pleasant Valley 0

Monday’s semifinals
Oxford vs. Donoho, 4:30 pm
Alexandria vs. Piedmont, 6:30 pm

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Last year, Oxford won its Calhoun County Baseball Tournament opener after driving in from winning a national showcase game in Birmingham hours earlier.

This year, the Yellow Jackets won their tournament opener after driving back from an even earlier national showcase game in Birmingham hours before.


It’s not the ideal situation unless you have a ton of pitching like the Jackets have, but if he can keep getting these kinds of results, coach Wes Brooks might advocate playing two big games 60 miles apart on the same day every year.

The Jackets came back from winning an early-morning consolation game in the Perfect Game High School Showdown Saturday and blanked Pleasant Valley in their Calhoun County Tournament opener at Choccolocco Park 5-0. The tournament’s top seed will play fourth-seeded Donoho in Monday’s 4:30 pm semifinal.

A year ago they won their county tournament opener just hours removed from winning their Perfect Game bracket championship against Georgia power Loganville.

“I think now it’s automatic,” Brooks said. “As long as that county tournament coincides with that high school showdown I think it’s a no-brainer for our team. The Boston Red Sox ‘scout is sitting right next to our dugout and watches Miguel (Mitchell) do his thing di lui on the first night.

“Today was an off-site game (at Spain Park’s Veterans Park). I told the guys this morning you lose a game, you play at the sandlot; it was almost like playing the sandlot. Winners bracket, you get to play at the Taj Mahal, but losers bracket you get to play at the sandlot. Last year we played at the Taj Mahal. “

And then they came home to the friendly confines of what’s been recognized as one of the nicest high school baseball fields in the country.

Three Oxford pitchers held the Raiders to three singles and only four base-runners. Sophomore Dalton Fink made his first career start and pitched into the sixth, giving up three hits and striking out six. Freshman Hudson Gilman struck out the only two batters he faced on eight pitches, including one he cleaned up for Fink, and RJ Brooks closed it out with a perfect seventh on only six pitches.

“I thought that was awesome for (Fink), in his first outing getting a win in the county tournament,” Brooks said.

The right-hander made his season debut in the Jackets’ second game of the year Feb. 19 against Mobile Christian. He pitched a perfect final inning that day on 11 pitches. He learned he was getting the start Saturday right before the Jackets started warming up for their 8 am Perfect Game game against defending 5A state champion Russellville.

He threw 69 pitches, 45 for strikes. He faced 19 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of them.

“(Brooks) told me he just really wanted me to fill it up, live in the moment and have fun,” Fink said. “I felt really good, had a lot of fun on the mound and I’m ready for the next one.”

Fink made his first start in the game, but several other players saw their first varsity action during the week. James Tapley, a pitcher who wasn’t even born when Brooks first arrived at Oxford in 2005, worked the final three innings to get the save against Russellville in his debut di lui.

Hayden Gallahar, a left-hander, made his debut earlier this week against Spring Garden and Tide Gann made his first appearance in the Russellville game.

“Those are my most favorite days,” Brooks said of watching players make their debuts. “Like last year, in the finals of the High School Showdown, RJ (Brooks) comes in and hits and throws. So, he becomes a guy that day, you become a Dude, whatever you want to say. You start becoming maybe a household name in your city, in your school, in your community, so those are really cool. “

As sharp as the pitchers were against PV, the Jackets gave Fink all the runs he needed on Carter Johnson’s sacrifice fly in the first. They added a run on a wild pitch in the third, two in the fourth and one in the sixth. Chance Griner had two hits and two RBIs.

DONOHO 7, WHITE PLAINS 0: The Falcons probably wish they could go back and replay the first two innings of the season. They gave up 10 runs in the first two innings of their season opener and haven’t given up a run since.

Slade Haney pitched six innings of two-hit shutout ball and struck out seven, and Blake Sewell allowed one hit in the final inning as the fourth-seeded Falcons justified their highest-ever seeding in the County Baseball Tournament in at least eight years.

Haney hit a two-run double in the first inning and had three RBIs in the game. Nic Thompson had three hits. Duke Barnett had two of White Plains’ three hits.

PIEDMONT 9, JACKSONVILLE 7: The sixth-seeded and two-time defending champion Bulldogs got a measure of revenge for a loss earlier in the season when they manufactured two runs in the eighth after third-seeded Jacksonville tied the game with four two-out runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Austin Estes, last year’s tournament MVP, got the winning rally started with a single, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an infield error. They added an insurance run later in the inning on McClane Mohon’s sacrifice fly.

Jacksonville tied it 7-7 in the bottom of the seventh on RBI singles by Grant Patterson and Jim Ogle and a two-run error put in play by Nick Salmon.

Noah Reedy went 3-for-4 for Piedmont, Estes had two hits and Jack Hayes had two RBIs. Dakoda Willingham went 2-for-4 for Jacksonville and Patterson and Ogle both had two RBIs.

The Golden Eagles have lost four straight after opening the season 2-0.

Oxford 5, Pleasant Valley 0
Pleasant Valley 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
Oxford 101 201 x – 5 5 0
WP: Dalton Fink. LP: Pelham Parris.

Donoho 7, White Plains 0
White Plains 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
Donoho 400 300 x – 7 7 0
WP: Slade Haney. LP: Duke Barnett. 2B: Slade Haney (D), Nic Thompson (D).

Piedmont 9, Jacksonville 7
Piedmont 100 303 02 – 9 9 5
Jacksonville 300 000 40 – 7 9 5
WP: Cassius Fairs. LP: Nick Salmon. 2B: Brodey Brothers (P), McClane Mohon (P), Will Greenwood (J).

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