Blue Eagles notch two wins; fall to UMS
By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
With two victories in their last three outings, the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles continued their strong early-season play while improving their record to 4-1.
The Blue Eagles registered dominating wins over J.F. Shields and Washington County before dropping a decision to UMS-Wright in a game that was marked by two opposing pitchers at the top of their games.
Neal head coach Coy Campbell assessed the Blue Eagles' start with good grades overall, but said there remains room for plenty of improvement.
Blue Eagles 11, J.F. Shields 1
After opening the season with two straight wins, the Blue Eagles looked to keep the positive momentum going when they hosted J.F. Shields on March 6.
With starting pitcher Patrick Sorrells tossing a one-hitter and the Neal offense battering the opposing pitching staff into submission, the Blue Eagles had little trouble extending their winning streak to three games.
Neal took control of the contest in the first inning, as Brad Jerkins doubled in two runs that paved the way to a 3-0 Blue Eagles' lead.
After Sorrells mowed-down Shields in the top of the second, the Blue Eagles produced another couple of runs in the bottom half of the inning to up their advantage to 4-0.
With a five-run fourth inning, Neal all but sealed the fate of the visitors. Both Paul Crabtree and Chad McCall lashed two-RBI singles as the Blue Eagles padded their cushion to 10-0.
J.F. Shields scored a lone run in the top of the fifth inning on a passed ball, but then the Blue Eagles answered with a run in the bottom of the inning that ended the game.
Daniel Hodge reached on an error before stealing both second and third bases. Brennan Beasley then came through with a clutch base hit that ended the game at 11-1 due to the ten-run rule.
Patrick Sorrells went the distance in earning the win, striking-out ten to go along with his one-hitter.
Blue Eagle leaders at the plate were Brad Jerkins, 2-for-3 with two RBIs; Paul Crabtree, 1-for-2 with three RBIs; Chad McCall, 1-for-2 with two RBIs and Cody Anthony, 1-for-1 with one RBI.
Blue Eagles 17, Washington Cty. 3
A March 8 matchup against the Washington County Bulldogs in Mobile proved to be a game in which Neal overwhelmed its opponent with offensive firepower.
Paul Crabtree's two-RBI base hit in the top of the first inning allowed the Blue Eagles to holding an early 2-1 advantage before gaining total control in the second.
Along with taking advantage of a Bulldogs' error to score a run, Nick Benjamin crossed home plate on a Daniel Hodge fielder's choice. Chad McCall's two-RBI single was then followed by Jeffrey Coleman's two-RBI double that gave Neal an 8-1 lead.
Not content to sit on the lead, the Blue Eagles exploded offensively in the top of the third inning. Cory Freeman's RBI single, Paul Crabtree's two-RBI single and Chad McCall's two-RBI single were highlights of an eight-run inning that gave Neal a 16-1 lead and effectively put the game out of reach.
While limiting Shields to two more runs the rest of the way, the Blue Eagles added another score before game's end to polish off a 17-3 win that kept their undefeated record intact.
Chad McCall earned the win in a starting role, pitching three innings while allowing three hits and recording four strikeouts.
Offensive leaders for Neal were McCall, 2-for-2 with three RBIs; Cody Anthony, 1-for-2 with three RBIs and Nick Benjamin, 2-for-2 with three runs scored.
UMS-Wright 3, Blue Eagles 0
In a March 8 game in Mobile that could be categorized as a classic pitching duel, the UMS-Wright Bulldogs did what was necessary to send the Blue Eagles home on the short end of a 3-0 decision.
Although Neal starting pitcher Paul Crabtree tossed his second no-hitter in as many outings, three Blue Eagles errors led to three UMS-Wright runs. Meanwhile, Neal managed only three hits the entire game and failed to move a base runner past first base.
After the Blue Eagles failed to produce offensively in the top of the first inning, the Bulldogs did most of their damaged in the bottom half of the inning.
The initial score came as a result of a walk that put a base runner on first before a fielder's choice placed him in scoring position at second. A passed ball allowed the runner to move to third before a squeeze bunt brought home the scoring run. An error later in the inning accounted for another UMS run and placed the Blue Eagles at a 2-0 disadvantage.
Following Neal's shaky start defensively in the first inning, the two teams settled into a scoreless next three innings. However, a UMS-Wright run in the bottom half of the fifth inning closed out the scoring in a 3-0 Bulldogs' win.
Paul Crabtree went 2-for-3 and Daniel Hodge went 1-for-3 to lead the Blue Eagle offense.