Tigers roll to EC Tournament crown
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Few people probably realized the Escambia County Blue Devils edged the T.R. Miller Tigers 28-26 for total runs scored in the three games at the Escambia County Tournament.
The Tigers will be more than happy to let the Blue Devils claim that honor. It was when those runs scored that was the most important item.
T.R. Miller picked Saturday's championship game against the Blue Devils for its best offensive game of the tournament, as it exploded for a 15-2 win in a game that lasted just four and one-half innings.
"I think by the time we got to the third game of the tournament we had more pitching left than they (Escambia County) did and that was one of the deciding factors," T.R. Miller coach Jim Hart said. "We still had Brad (Lannom) left for this game and we could have brought Kurt (Prater) or Trent (Davidson) back for a few innings if we had needed them."
Tournament Most Valuable Player Brad Lannom tossed a four-hitter in a complete game effort Saturday, but Lannom allowed just one hit after the first inning when the Blue Devils touched him for both of their runs.
Lannom was just as effective, maybe more so, at the plate Saturday where he racked out three hits and drove in four runs.
"Brad had a great tournament for us. He is a leader for us day in and day out," Hart said. "Nothing seems to phase him. After Escambia County got those two runs in the first inning, he came right back and shut them down the rest of the way."
The Blue Devils (2-1 for the tournament) got a two-run single by Chris Graham in the top of the first inning, but that was the only damage Lannom suffered.
A single by Lannom followed by an error on a single hit by Davidson in the bottom half of the first inning allowed the Tigers to cut that deficit in half.
It was the next two innings where T.R. Miller took control. In both frames, the Tigers (3-0 in the tournament and 21-5 overall) batted around and sent a total of 24 batters to the plate.
Eleven of those went to the plate in a six-run second inning. The merry-go-round began when Prater walked, Baxley Raines was hit by a pitch and Jordan Cauley singled to load the bases.
Jacob Salter was hit by a pitch and forced Prater in with the tying run. Joseph Turner drilled a two-run single that put T.R. Miller up 4-2, an advantage it would not relinquish. Then came consecutive singles by Lannom, Davidson and Jordan Ball that quickly got the lead up to 7-2.
The Tigers were even more productive in the third inning when they sent 13 batters to theplate and scored eight times.
Kyle Rush singled, Cauley reached on an error and Salter was hit by a pitch for a second time to load the bases. Turner delivered his second two-single in as many innings to make it 9-2. It quickly became 12-2 when Lannom muscled up for a three-run homer.
The Tigers were not done yet though. Davidson walked, Ball beat out an infield single and Prater singled to reload the bases. That set up a two-run single by Rush and and an RBI single by Salter.
At W.S. Neal
Escambia Co. 200 00 – 2 4 2
T.R. Miller 168 0X – 15 14 1
Flomaton 6, W.S. Neal 5
W.S. Neal's three previous wins over Flomaton this season did not matter Saturday, as the Hurricanes claimed third place in the tournament with a 6-5 win over the Blue Eagles.
Two characteristics of W.S. Neal's six-game losing streak have been errors and falling behind early. Both items hit the Blue Eagles again in Saturday's tournament finale.
W.S. Neal took a brief 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the top of the first inning, but an error by the Blue Eagles opened the door for a three-run rally by the Hurricanes in the bottom half of the first inning against W.S. Neal starting pitcher Daniel Hodge.
The defensive miscues continued in the second inning, as two Flomaton errors on balls hit by Chad McCall and Justin Smith helped cut the Blue Eagles cut their gap to 3-2.
A two-run single by Chad Simpson in the bottom half of the second inning extended the Hurricanes' advantage to 5-2. Flomaton picked up another unearned run in the third inning that made it 6-2.
After the rough defensive start, the Blue Eagles tried to offset things with their bats later in the game.
In the fifth inning, a double by Jared Cooper, a balk and an RBI single by Spencer Williamson sliced the advantage to 6-3.
The Blue Eagles pulled even closer in the sixth inning. Deric Smith was hit by a pitch, Justin Smith ripped an RBI double and later scored on a groundout by Cody Anthony to make it 6-5.
At W.S. Neal
W.S. Neal 110 012 0 – 5 6 2
Flomaton 321 000 X – 6 4 3
NOTE: While T.R. Miller's Brad Lannom led the All-Tournament Team as the Most Valuable Player, he was joined on the squad by teammates Kurt Prater, Jordan Ball, Patrick Sorrells and Joseph Turner.
Also on the team were W.S. Neal's Brandon Douglas, Flomaton's Mike Wedgeworth and Clay Simpson, and Escambia County's Dereke Martin, Frank Boykin and Chris Graham.