Streaking Tigers roll to EC title; Eagles go winless at tourney
Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
John Mathieu was not perfect, but he was the next best thing.
Only an infield error prevented the T.R. Miller Tigers sophomore righthander from tossing a perfect game in his team's 2-0 win over the Escambia County Blue Devils in Saturday's championship game of the Escambia County tournament. Mathieu struck out 10 and retired the final 16 batters he faced en route to his first career no-hitter.
The only runner to reach for Escambia County came with two outs in the top of the second inning when Cody Vickrey reached on an infield throwing error.
Mathieu's no-hit bid survived a scare with two outs in the top of the sixth when Anthony Matthews lined a shot down the left field line, but landed just inches foul. Matthews then hit a harmless popup to shortstop Baxley Raines.
Mathieu also held strong down the stretch, as he got Michael Thomas and Corey Flowers on called third strikes on three-two counts for the first two outs in the seventh inning.
Mathieu had to be tough. Escambia County pitcher Jonathan McNeil also threw a strong game, as he allowed just six hits with a couple of strikeouts in a complete game effort.
T.R. Miller, which won for the seventh straight game, scratched out the only run it needed in the bottom of the third. Brice Martin led off with a single, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kendall Land and scored on another wild pitch.
The Tigers got a fortunate bounce in the fifth inning when they plated their only other run. Land hit a leadoff single and Seth Holland hit a ball that bounced in front of and then over the head of Escambia County centerfielder Anthony Matthews for an RBI double.
The championship was T.R. Miller's first since 2004.
T.R. Miller opened postseason play Tuesday at St. James
in Montgomery. The second round of the playoffs will be Friday and Saturday. If the Tigers advance, they will either travel to Central-Tuscaloosa or host Jackson in a best-of-three series.
T.R. Miller vs. Escambia Co.
Escambia Co. 000 000 0 - 0 0 1
T.R. Miller 001 010 X - 2 6 1
Flomaton, 10, W.S. Neal 5
W.S. Neal not only finished the tournament winless with a 10-5 setback to the Flomaton Hurricanes Saturday, but W.S. Neal limped into the offseason with 10 straight losses overall and 12 losses in its last 13 games.
The Hurricanes never looked back after they raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and a 7-1 cushion after two and a half innings against W.S. Neal pitcher Josey Brown. The Blue Eagles' defense committed three errors during that time and four miscues overall. Flomaton also got an RBI single from Will Hines in the opening inning and an RBI double that highlighted a four-run third inning.
The Blue Eagles got one of those runs back in the bottom of the third when Josh Sawyer singled and Jared Cooper doubled him home.
Flomaton extended its lead back to six runs in the top of the fourth when a double by Corey Gregson and an RBI single by Tony Ellis made it 8-2.
W.S. Neal got an unearned run in the fourth and an RBI double from James Freeman in the fifth to pull to within 8-4, but the Hurricanes regained their six-run lead with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to make it 10-4.
W.S. Neal (9-15) was held to just five hits, two of which belonged to Cooper. Freeman, Sawyer and Jacob Cannon all added one. The Blue Eagles struck out 10 times against three Flomaton pitchers.
Flomaton vs. W.S. Neal
Flomaton 304 102 0 - 10 10 2
W.S. Neal 011 110 1 – 5 5 4