TRM rolls into EC Tournament title game
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Day Two of the Escambia County Baseball Tournament certainly produced a lot more excitement than Day One.
The two games played in Thursday's opening round were decided by a combined 26-6 margin, as T.R. Miller clubbed Flomaton 9-3 and Escambia County ripped W.S. Neal 17-3.
In Friday's round, Escambia County and T.R. Miller set up Saturday's championship game appointment with two narrow escapes. The Blue Devils (2-0) managed to slip by Flomaton (0-2) 9-8, while T.R. Miller (2-0) edged W.S. Neal (0-2) 2-1.
T.R. Miller 2, W.S. Neal 1
The 20th win of the season for the Tigers was one of their toughest of the year, as Patrick Sorrells outdueled W.S. hurler Brandon Douglas in a splendid pitching matchup.
Douglas did not make many mistakes, but one sailed over the fence in the top of the second inning when Jordan Ball connected on a solo homerun when the game was still scoreless.
The Tigers (20-5) scored what proved to be the decisive run in the fourth inning when Trent Davidson singled, was balked to second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Ryan Holland's sacrifice fly.
W.S. Neal (13-9) cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth inning when Daniel Hodge was hit by a pitch, went to second base on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Spencer Williamson.
The Blue Eagles missed a golden opportunity to at least get the game into extra innings in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Chad McCall beat out an infield single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error with nobody out.
Sorrells got Buddy Ziglar on a called third strike for the first out. In what was the biggest play of the inning, McCall was thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice after Justin Smith hit a slow roller between the foul line and the pitcher's mound.
Even though McCall was out at the plate for the second out, T.R. Miller was not out of trouble just yet because Smith moved over to second base and into scoring position on the play.
Cody Anthony hit another roller, this one in front of the mound. It looked to a routine play, but Sorrells slipped and had to throw sitting down to first baseman Trent Davidson for the final out on a bang-bang play at first base.
At W.S. Neal
T.R. Miller 010 100 0 – 2 5 1
W.S. Neal 000 001 0 – 1 4 0
T.R. Miller 9, Flomaton 3
The Tigers overcame a sluggish start, but finished on a strong note in their 9-3 win over the Flomaton Hurricanes. The victory was T.R. Miller's third in as many tries this season over Flomaton.
Flomaton touched Tigers starting hurler Trent Davidson for a pair of second inning runs and had a 2-1 lead until the bottom of the third inning.
Brad Lannom put T.R. Miller ahead for good with a two-run single to spark a six-run rally. Jordan Ball also had an RBI single in the frame. Two Flomaton errors allowed two more runs to score and Jordan Cauley added an RBI groundout.
T.R. Miller added two insurance runs in the sixth inning on a two-run single by Joseph Turner.
Davidson worked one batter into the sixth inning before Kurt Prater relieved and got the final six outs.
At W.S. Neal
Flomaton 020 001 0 – 1 5 4
T.R. Miller 016 002 X – 9 11 1
Escambia County 17,
W.S. Neal 3
W.S. Neal allowed a season high run output, as it was crushed by the Blue Devils 17-3 in five innings in Thursday's other first-round game.
After Cody Anthony gave the Blue Eagles a brief 1-0 lead on an RBI single in the top of the first inning, Escambia County broke loose in the bottom half of the first inning with a six-run outburst and never looked back.
The Blue Devils knocked out four singles against losing hurler Chad McCall in that frame, but W.S. Neal hurt its cause even more with two costly errors. The Blue Eagles had five total errors in the game.
Cory Freeman tried to bring W.S. Neal back in the second inning when his two-run homer cut the Blue Devils' lead to 6-3.
Escambia County went on to score 11 unanswered runs over the next three innings to innings to kick the 10-run rule into effect.
At W.S. Neal
W.S. Neal 120 00 – 3 4 5
E. County 643 4X – 17 11 0