Eagles still flying high, rip Straughn
Published 1:40 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Ten-day layoffs are not necessarily ideal during a baseball season. Then again, the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles baseball team might want more after they responded from their break with a 23-8, five-inning road win over the Straughn Tigers Monday in the Class 3A Area 1 opener for both teams.
Six W.S. Neal players had at least two hits, as the Blue Eagles lashed out 19 total hits for the day. Three of those hits went for homeruns, which included a pair of two-run shots by Jared Cooper. Twice the Blue Eagles had at least 13 batters go to the plate in an inning.
Cooper got the Blue Eagles off and running with a two-run bomb in the top of the first inning. W.S. Neal then exploded for a 10-run second inning that took the lead up to 12-0.
Josh Danley started that rally with a solo homerun and Spencer Williamson also had a key blow with a two-run double. Both Justin Smith and James Freeman had two hits in the inning.
Straughn was able to break through against W.S. Neal starting pitcher Whitney Qualls for three runs in the bottom of the third, but the Blue Eagles' lead hit the mercy rule margin again in the top of the fourth when RBI singles by Justin Smith and Williamson took the score up to 14-3.
Once again Straughn was able to get the deficit below the 10-run mercy rule margin in the bottom of the fourth when it got three more runs off Qualls to pull within 14-6.
The Blue Eagles finally made sure the game would end early when they knocked across nine run in the top of the fifth to go up 23-6. That frame included Cooper's second two-run homer of the game.
Justin Smith led W.S. Neal's offensive attack with four hits and five RBIs, while Cooper finished with three hits and four RBIs. Williamson also had three hits. Qualls and Danley each posted a pair of hits and drove in a run, while James Freeman also had a pair of hits. Eric Howell picked up a hit and an RBI, while Tyler Nall and Jacob Cannon both picked up a hit.
The Blue Eagles, who hosted Flomaton Tuesday, are slated to host Jay (Fla.) today at 2:30 p.m. W.S. Neal returns to area play Friday at Clarke County for a 4:30 p.m. game.
WSN 2(10)0 29 – 23 19 5
Straughn 003 32 – 8 6 3