WSN baseball eliminated by two-time champ UMS-Wright in second round
Heading into their second round playoff game at UMS-Wright Friday and Saturday, the W.S. Neal Eagle baseball team had “unfinished business” to settle with the Bulldogs.
Last year, W.S. Neal hosted UMS-Wright in round one and took game one 14-6 before losing game two 5-3 and game three 13-0 to be eliminated with a 21-8 record in the first round.
After advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1990, the Eagles looked to keep their run in the playoffs going and eliminate the two-time state champion Bulldogs and having a new state champion crowned in class 4A.
But after splitting their two games Friday with Bulldogs at Radcliff Field, the Eagles saw their season end in almost the same manner as it ended last season at home against the Bulldogs.
W.S. Neal (23-12) lost game one to the Bulldogs 8-3 before winning game two 6-4 to force a third and deciding game Saturday. In Saturday’s game, UMS-Wright scored 13 unanswered runs to drop the Eagles 13-2 in five innings to eliminate the Eagles of East Brewton for the second straight year.
“Game one may have been the worst game we played all year and we picked a bad time to play it,” W.S. Neal head coach Coy Campbell said. “At the same time, we are only down one going into the sixth inning and they just got a little separation. I thought Brian (Settle) pitched well. Game one is game one. In game two, our kids, once again with their backs against the wall, come out and score three runs early and Keith Bradley pitches a great game for us. These kids just don’t quit.”
But in game three, things went from excitement in the Eagle dugout to silence in a matter of innings.
“The game started off well and you just couldn’t draw it up any better,” Campbell said. “We get a squeeze with two strikes and a passed ball and we are up 2-0. Cam Blackman comes off an illness and is throwing good, but I think UMS just made an adjustment at the plate. They hit it when they hit and hit it where we were not playing. We swung the bat OK. Not as good as we could have but it just seemed like everything we hit hard was right to them. Everything they hit was right in the holes. That is just good baseball.”
Campbell said even though he and his team were looking to seek revenge on the two-time champion Bulldogs from last season and the loss was almost exactly like last year, his team would move on.
“Last year, UMS kind of did the same thing they did this year,” he said. “They go on to win the state championship. I don’t know how far they will go this year, but if we can get beat by the state champion every year, I feel pretty good that we had a pretty successful season. They have won two back-to-back so they are doing something right over here. We will take the loss, but that is just what it is. We will move on.”
The Eagles will lose three seniors from the 2012 team in Logan Williamson, Reid Johnson and Hunter Mullins.
“The seniors have been good for me,” Campbell said. “These seniors are a big reason why we are playing today. They have been playing with us since the eighth grade and they are a big reason we are where we are today. I have had them for five years and I am just extremely proud of them and the rest of the bunch.”
The Bulldogs will continue their quest for a third straight 4A state title when they host St. James Friday. Tallassee was the last 4A school to win three straight state titles (1989, 1990, 1991).
Game one: UMS 8, WSN 3
In game one, W.S. Neal committed eight errors to drop an 8-3 loss to the Bulldogs by five to fall down 0-1 in the series.
UMS-Wright led 1-0 after the first inning and an Eagle error before W.S. Neal scored one in the third inning. The Bulldogs took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning but saw W.S. Neal get one run in the fourth and fifth to cut the lead to 4-3 heading into the sixth inning.
From there, UMS scored four in the sixth to help get the win by five.
Brian Settle took the loss on the mound for the Eagles going five innings and allowing seven hits, eight runs, two earned, walked five, hit two and struck out three.
Tyler Joyner went the final inning and struck out two.
At the plate, Mullins, Williamson, Settle, Jeremy Myers and Dylan Godwin all had singles with Williamson having one RBI.
Game two: WSN 6, UMS 4
Needing a win in game two to stay alive, W.S. Neal got on the board early and often and held on to defeat UMS-Wright by two, 6-4.
W.S. Neal scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the third while UMS-Wright plated two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings.
Keith Bradley earned the win on the mound going all seven innings and allowing seven hits, four runs, three earned, walked three, hit one and struck out one.
At the plate, Damion Williams, Mullins, Johnson and Settle had had singles while Williamson had two singles and Christian Purvis had a double.
Williamson and Settle had two RBIs each while Purvis had one RBI.
Game three: UMS 13, WSN 2 (five innings)
After scoring two runs in the first inning, W.S. Neal fell to four runs in the third inning and nine in the fourth to suffer a 13-2 loss to UMS-Wright and be eliminated.
UMS pounded out 13 hits in the five-inning win and held W.S. Neal to three hits.
Johnson, Settle and Godwin all had singles while Williamson had one RBI on a squeeze bunt.
W.S. Neal used four pitchers in the loss.
Cam Blackman went 3 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits, nine runs and walked five while Myers, Settle and Joyner all pitched in the fourth inning.
Myers allowed three hits, four runs and walked none while Settle went 1/3 of an inning and allowed two hits and walked one. Joyner went the final 1/3 of an inning.