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Tigers claw out win over Eagles

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
W.S. Neal Blue Eagles coach Coy Campbell made it quite evident he was not going to let T.R. Miller Tigers catcher Jordan Ball beat his squad.
Ball may not have been the one who beat the Blue Eagles, but the bat of Tyler Shehan and the arm of Baxley Raines did in T.R. Miller's 7-2 victory at East Brewton Friday.
Shehan had a pair of two-run singles and Raines threw a complete game seven-hitter with seven strikeouts.
The win gave the Tigers (5-3) consecutive wins for the first time this season after they had alternated wins and losses through their first seven games. More importantly, the win evened T.R. Miller's Class 3A Area 1 record at 1-1.
"This was a big win for us for Area purposes. An 0-2 start would have really made it tough," Tigers coach Jim Hart said.
As has been the case most of this season, W.S. Neal (3-6 overall and 0-2 in Area 1) wasted a strong pitching performance from Brandon Douglas. Douglas whiffed 13 T.R. Miller batters, but fell victim to a lack of run support and a couple of key defensive errors.
"Brandon threw a great game, but we didn't give him much support. We had a few opportunities, but didn't take full advantage of them. Probably the difference in the game was T.R. Miller made the most of its chances," Campbell said.
The Tigers caught a break in the top of the first inning when a two-out single by Ball scooted past W.S. Neal leftfielder Spencer Williamson. The error allowed Raines, who had singled one batter earlier, to score all the way from first base.
That run had T.R. Miller in front until the bottom of the third inning. Jimmie Jones provided W.S. Neal with its first hit of the game against Raines when he doubled with one out. After Bobby Freeman grounded out, Justin Smith lined a single into centerfield that allowed Jones to come in with the tying run.
One of the key plays in the game came one batter later when Douglas doubled into right-centerfield. Tiger rightfielder Justin Curry relayed the ball to first baseman Tyler Shehahn, who threw a perfect strike to Ball behind the plate. Ball then applied the tag on Smith just before he could get to the plate with what would have been the go-ahead run. Instead the game remained tied at 1-1.
W.S. Neal was able to grab a 2-1 lead though in the bottom of the fourth inning when Daniel Hodge singled, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Deric Smith.
The pendulum swung T.R. Miller's way permanently in the top of the fifth inning.
See BASEBALL Page 7
With two out, Jordan Cauley singled and Raines walked. Campbell then had Dougals load the bases with an intentional walk to Ball, something he had done with a successful outcome in the third inning. This time the strategy backfired when Douglas struck Becker Denton with a pitch to force in Caluey with the tying run. Shehan then put T.R. Miller ahead with a two-run single.
A similar scenario happened in the seventh inning when another three-run rally all but secured T.R. Miller's win. With one out, Raines singled and Ball was walked for the third time in the game. After Denton flew out, Shehan came through again with a two-run single that also included an error on the play. Shehan's second two-run hit made it 6-2 and an RBI infield single by Justin Curry two batters later made it 7-2.
T.R. Miller, which played at UMS-Wright Saturday, returns to Area action Monday when it hosts Straughn at 4 p.m. W.S. Neal travels to Milton (Fla.) Monday where it will face Donelson Christian (Tenn.) at 4 p.m.
At W.S. Neal
T.R. Miller 100 030 3 – 7 9 1
W.S. Neal 001 100 0 – 2 7 2
Tigers top Andalusia
When we last left T.R. Miller and Andalusia on the baseball diamond, a pair of two-out, seventh inning errors by the Bulldogs opened the door for a stunning five-run rally by the Tigers and a 9-8 victory.
For all intent, Monday's rematch at Andalusia pretty much picked up where that game left off. The Bulldogs made three errors in the first inning that led to five T.R. Miller runs. It also paved the way for an 11-1, five-inning triumph.
Jacob Salter had a big day for the Tigers, who moved above the .500 mark for the season at 4-3. The senior started the first inning trouble for Andalusia with a single, belted a solo homer that started a four-run fourth inning and put the 10-run rule into effect in the fifth inning with an RBI single. Salter was also the winning pitcher, as he went the distance on a five-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk.
Senior catcher Jordan Ball also had a significant role in the win. Ball also had a key single in the first inning uprising and smashed a two-run homer in the fourth.
At Andalusia
T.R. Miller 501 41 – 11 9 1
Andalusia 100 00 – 1 5 5