Too many miscues by W.S. Neal add up to 7-1 CC win
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
It could have been the four errors committed by the defense. It could have been the seven walks and four wild pitches their hurlers threw. It could have been the three runners they lost on the bases. It could have been the six stolen bases Clarke County pilfered.
"Take your pick. You're not going to beat a good team, any team for that matter, with the mistakes we made. We just didn't play very well," W.S. Neal Blue Eagles baseball coach Coy Campbell said after his squad dropped a 7-1 decision on its home turf to the Bulldogs Friday.
A W.S. Neal win would have given T.R. Miller the outright Class 3A Area 1 regular season chamionship. Instead the Bulldogs (2-1) kept their hopes alive of forcing a deadlock with the Tigers (3-1).
The Blue Eagles (13-6 overall and 0-3 in Area 1) will get a final chance to play spoiler Tuesday when it gets a rematch with the Bulldogs in Grove Hill.
The Bulldogs led from start to finish. Clarke County got a leadoff double by Nathan Gordon and an infield single by Willie Horn. Both eventually scored on wild pitches by W.S. Neal pitcher Brandon Douglas, one of which came on a third strike against Brandon Powell.
Despite the fact W.S. Neal had just three hits in the game, it wasted some early scoring opportunities. Justin Smith led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, but was erased in a double play.
In the second inning, the Blue Eagles put their first two runners on base courtesy of a double by Jared Cooper and a walk to Cody Anthony, but Clarke County pitcher Robert Malone retired the next three batters to get out of the jam.
The Blue Eagles cut the lead down to 2-1 in the third inning. Justin Smith walked with one out and Daniel Hodge singled. Spencer Williamson hit into a fielder's choice, but a throwing error on the play allowed Justin Smith to score.
Clarke County pulled away in the fourth inning with a four-run rally that ended Douglas' day on the mound.
Brandon Powell had a key RBI double, while Malone helped himself with an RBI single. Jerrine Gates got another run on on a groundout and a fourth run scored on a wild pitch.
It stayed 6-1 until the seventh when Clarke County took advantage of two W.S. Neal errors and an RBI fielder's choice by Malone to make it 7-1.
At W.S. Neal
Clarke Co. 200 400 1 – 7 8 2
W.S. Neal 001 000 0 – 1 3 4