Sorrells, Tigers whiff Blue Eagles
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
He walked the first three batters he faced. Another first inning walk cost him a run.
At that point, nobody could have guessed what T.R. Miller Tigers senior pitcher Patrick Sorrells would accomplish the rest of the night.
Once he found his groove, the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles could only helplessly watch Sorrells fan batter after batter. Seventeen of them to be exact, which incuded seven straight to end the game.
Just as painful to watch for W.S. Neal supporters was the Tigers' offense, which mashed out 16 hits in a 16-2, six-inning Class 3A Area 1 victory at East Brewton Friday.
"It was a big win from the Area standpoint as well as the rivalry," T.R. Miller coach Jim Hart said.
The real story was Sorrells, who got 17 of his 18 outs via strikeouts to go along with a one-hit performance. Sorrells struck out the side the last five innings. Only two W.S. Neal batters put the ball in play. Spencer Williamson flew out to rightfield in the first inning and Buddy Ziglar broke up the no-hit attempt with a one-out single in the fourth inning.
"I'm not sure we've ever had anybody ever strike out 17 in a game before," Hart said. "I thought before the game Patrick was a little too pumped up and he came out wild in the first inning. Once he got past that, he was outstanding."
The Tigers (5-1) took some of the pressure off Sorrells before he even went to the mound with a four-run top of the first inning. A single by Joseph Turner and a walk to Brad Lannom set up an RBI double by Trent Davidson and a three-run homer by Jordan Ball off W.S. Neal starting hurler Brandon Douglas.
Sorrells walked Justin Smith, Cody Anthony and Daniel Hodge in succession to start the bottom of the first inning. A two-out walk to Cory Freeman forced in Smith to make it 4-1.
It stayed that way until the third inning when T.R. Miller tacked on three more runs courtesy of a an RBI single by Kurt Prater and a two-run double by Kyle Rush to make it 7-1.
The Tigers ran their lead to 10-1 with three more runs in the fourth inning, as Davidson and Rush both had RBI singles with an RBI sacrifice fly by Ryan Holland squeezed in between.
The Blue Eagles (3-2) got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the fourth. After Ziglar singled and Smith walked, an error on a pickoff play at first base allowed Ziglar to come around to score to make it 10-2.
A triple by Jacob Salter and a sacrifice fly by Turner made it 11-2 in the fifth inning.
The Tigers finished things off with a five-run sixth inning. Turner and David Padgett both had two-run singles and Lannom also had an RBI single.
"If we had gotten a hit in that first inning when Sorrells was struggling and gotten back in the game, who knows what would have happened," W.S. Neal coach Coy Campbell said. "We knew T.R. Miller had a great hitting team. At least in this game, they didn't have an easy out in the lineup."
Friday's win erased the Tigers' previous season high run output, which came in Tuesday's 11-3 triumph at Monroe County.
Junior Jordan Ball was a big part of a 12-hit attack with four hits, three of which were doubles. Joseph Turner had a pair of hits and drove in a team high four runs. Kurt Prater and Trent Davidson, who scored three runs, each had two hits and an RBI.
T.R. Miller pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the first inning courtesy of RBI singles by Davidson and Prater and never trailed in the game.
After Monroe County got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the first inning, the visiting Tigers started to pull away with a four-run rally in the third inning that knocked the lead up to 6-1. Turner had the biggest blow of the inning, a two-run single. Kyle Rush got another run in on a sacrifice fly.
With the lead down to 6-3, T.R. Miller erupted for a five-run sixth inning that increased the gap to the final score of 11-3. Two Monroe County errors, a double by Ball and a two-run single by Turner were the key plays of the inning.
Davidson went the distance on a seven-hitter for the win. He struck out six, walked one and allowed two earned runs.
"We hit the ball real well, especially the middle part of our lineup with Jordan and Trent. Joseph also swung the bat well. We're going to have to hit well in order to win win," Hart said.
In junior varsity action, T.R. Miller (2-0) also made quick work of W.S. Neal Friday with an 11-1 win win in five innings.
Justin Marshall clubbed three hits and drove in four runs to lead the Tigers. Starting and winning hurler Becker Denton, who worked the first three innings, helped his cause with three hits. Baxley Raines and Hayes Peace chipped in two.
T.R. Miller 204 005 0 – 11 12 3
Monroe Co. 100 020 0 – 3 7 5
T.R. Miller 403 315 – 16 16 1
W.S. Neal 100 100 – 2 1 3