Eagles win counter while TRM captures tiebreaker

Published 10:53 am Monday, March 19, 2007

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
Josey Brown and Baxley Raines both threw shutouts for their respective teams, as the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles and T.R. Miller Tigers divided Friday's Class 4A Area 2 doubleheader at East Brewton.
Brown threw a complete game two-hitter with four strikeouts in game one, as the Blue Eagles won the Area game counter 2-0.
Raines answered in game two with a complete game four-hitter with 13 strikeouts in T.R. Miller's 12-0, six-inning win. The game two result is the Area tiebreaker if T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal finish tied in the standings.
Game one was the first Area contest of the season for the Tigers (4-4). While the setback puts T.R. Miller in an uphill position, there is some history on its side. Two years ago the Tigers lost their Area opener to Clarke County and responded with five straight Area wins along with the tiebreaker to claim the Area championship.
Brown won a tough pitching matchup against Tigers senior righthander Mackie Jackson. Jackson allowed just three hits, walked only one and struck out seven, yet saw his season mark slip to 0-3 because of two unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning. Jackson has given up just 10 hits in his three starts, but T.R. Miller has scored just three runs in those starts.
Brown probably had something to do with the Tigers' struggles at the plate in the opener. Becker Denton had a pair of singles against Brown, but the rest of the T.R. Miller lineup went hitless.
T.R. Miller's best chance to get to Brown was probably the top of the first inning. Seth Holland drew a one-out walk and Denton hit a two-out single, but Brown got out of the inning when he got Christopher Griffin to fly out to right field.
The Tigers only had two other runners. Tanner Shehan was hit by a pitch with one out in the third, but Brown got Seth Holland to hit into a double play one batter later. Denton singled with one out in the fourth, but Brown set down the next two batters.
T.R. Miller committed five errors behind Jackson. Two of those came on consecutive at-bats in the bottom of the third and both led to runs.
Jackson got Tyler Brown to ground out to start the inning, but the out was turned into a runner when Brown was awarded first base on catcher's interference. One batter later Josey Brown reached on an infield throwing error. Josh Sawyer laid down a sacrifice bunt. Jackson tried to get the lead runner at third base, but Tyler Brown beat the throw to load the bases with nobody out. James Freeman followed with a two-run single that plated what turned out to be the only runs of the game.
Raines ran his record to 3-0 with his effort in game two. Two of his three wins have come after T.R. Miller losses.
The Tigers took advantage of control problems by the W.S. Neal pitching staff in game two. Blue Eagle hurlers walked seven, hit two and threw seven wild pitches.
The excessive free bases enabled to the Tigers to do in the first inning of game two what they were unable to do the entire first game, which was score.
A single by Shehan, a walk to Raines and an infield single by Denton loaded the bases with one out. Shehan came home when W.S. Neal hurler Josh Sawyer uncorked a wild pitch. After Sawyer walked Allen Williams to reload the bases, Sawyer walked Brice Martin to force in Raines and make it 2-0.
T.R. Miller stretched its lead to 3-0 in the top of the third. Denton reached on an infield error and Jackson singled. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base. Martin walked to fill the bases prior to a run-scoring wild pitch that plated Denton.
After the Tigers left six runners on base the first three innings, they finally broke the game open in the top of the fourth inning with a four-run rally.
Shehan was hit by a pitch and Seth Holland in a sequence that ended Sawyer's night on the mound. Reliever William Shell walked Raines to fill the bases and hit Denton with a pitch that forced in a run to make it 4-0. A wild pitch brought in Holland for the second run of the inning and Jackson hit an RBI single to make it 6-0. Shell caught Jackson in between first and second base on a pickoff play. Jackson was eventually tagged out after a lengthy rundown, but not before Denton scored to make it 7-0.
The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth. Stephen Mathews and Raines both walked. A passed ball allowed both runners to move up. A wild pitch allowed Mathews to score to make it 8-0. Raines later scored when Denton's infield grounder was misplayed to make it 9-0.
T.R. Miller finished off the game on the 10-run rule with its three final runs in the top of the sixth. Allen Williams led off with a walk and scored on a double by Will Waters. Corey Williams beat out an infield hit on Shell's final batter of the game. Reliever Tyler Cross threw a run-scoring wild pitch and gave up a sacrifice fly to Shehan.
Game one
T.R. Miller 000 000 0 - 0 2 5
W.S. Neal 002 000 X - 2 3 0
Game two
T.R. Miller 201 423 - 12 8 0
W.S. Neal 000 000 – 0 4 3

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