WSN baseball takes down TRM to go to 18-0
The No.1-ranked W.S. Neal Eagle baseball team improved to 2-0 this year over the T.R. Miller Tigers and their ace pitcher Kevin Davis Thursday in Brewton, but most important to 18-0 overall and to 3-0 in area play — one step closer to making the playoffs.
The Eagles stunned the Tigers — and the Tiger faithful — with an 8-0 lead over the Tigers after three innings. Four Eagle runs came in the first inning with two more coming in the second and third innings. T.R. Miller scored two runs in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to take the loss by five.
T.R. Miller fell to 11-7 overall and to 1-2 in area play.
“It is a big win, a big area win,” W.S. Neal head coach Coy Campbell said. “All area games are big. We come over here and get the first one and that puts us one step closer to the playoffs. We are just trying to get in however we can.”
Campbell said his players were focused Thursday — something he didn’t know would happen after a tragedy earlier in the day. Former W.S. Neal student Chase Kaylor was killed in a car wreck in Conecuh County.
“I didn’t know how they were going to react,” Campbell said. “Their focus in pregame batting practice and on the bus over here…it was the best we had been focused all year. We are 18-0 and I was griping about the way of us being focused. But, when this group plays and when they come to play, I will take my chances with them anytime they come out.”
Kaylor, an 18-year-old senior at Sparta Academy, went to W.S. Neal up until this current school year and played sports for the Eagles.
Dylan Godwin wore Kaylor’s jersey number 11 in the win Thursday.
“I just wanted to wear in remembrance of him because I just thought it was the right thing to do,” Godwin said. “He was my best friend and was real close to me. From this point on, for the rest of our games, a different player on the team will wear his jersey throughout the season because he was close to all of us. It gave us a little bit more motivation because we had a lot of reasons to play for last night. We just executed everything like we needed to. We are not playing for ourselves. We are just trying to help the team out and whatever we can do for the team, we are going to do and I think it has played a big role in our success.”
While Thursday’s win for the Eagles was their second of the year over T.R. Miller, with the first coming in the Escambia County Tournament in Flomaton, it was also the second over T.R. Miller’s Kevin Davis. Davis is an Auburn University commitment and a possible selectee in the Major League Baseball draft this summer. Several scouts were on hand Thursday behind home plate with radar guns to measure Davis’ pitching speed.
Davis went five innings and took the loss for T.R. Miller. He allowed four hits, eight runs, walked six, hit five batters and struck out seven.
“Kevin is Kevin,” Campbell said. “He is a great pitcher. He is probably the toughest I have faced since I have been coaching. I don’t know what it was. We put the ball in play and gave ourselves a chance and that is the key with us. I give credit to Kevin. He is a great kid and a great pitcher. We just got a big win.”
While Davis struggled on the mound, Cam Blackman had a good night on the mound for the Eagles and earned the win. Blackman went the complete game seven innings and allowed eight hits, three runs, walked two, hit one and struck out eight.
“Cam pitched his tail off,” Campbell said. “I am really proud of him. A lot of people maybe questioned why I was throwing him game one. All year, if you have been watching us play, he has thrown as good as anyone I have got. He came out today, and before we got here today, I told him that if he threw strikes, and didn’t walk people, that we would win the ballgame. I didn’t know that was going to happen. He gave us a chance to win and did his job and finished it out.”
Blackman said it felt good to get the win.
“Going up against Miller, they are a good team,” Blackman said. “It just gave me a chance to help my team and to help us stay undefeated. It feels good.”
Tiger head coach Jim Hart said his team “didn’t show up.”
“It was the biggest game of the year,” Hart said. “They are good and you better show up when you are playing good folks. You better play and we showed spurts of it there at the end, but we did nothing. They had eight runs with maybe one or two being earned. Even teams that are not that good are going to beat you when you play like that.”
Hart said he did not know why Davis has had his struggles this year on the mound against W.S. Neal.
“I wished I knew,” Hart said. “I don’t think it’s the scouts. I really don’t. I wish I knew. I guess he is just trying to much.”
At the plate for W.S Neal, Christian Purvis, Jeremy Myers, Damion Williams and Mike Williams all had singles. Myers and Dylan Godwin had two RBIs each and Brian Settle had one.
For T.R. Miller, Jones Manning had a single, Jacob Fillmore had two singles and a double. Kevin Davis had a single and a two-run homerun for T.R. Miller’s first runs of the game in the sixth innings. Hunter Brittain also had two singles for T.R. Miller. Fillmore had one RBI in the loss.
Ryan Hunt went the final two innings on the mound for T.R. Miller and allowed no runs or hits, hit one batter and struck out two.
The two teams were set to meet again Friday night in East Brewton to conclude the three-game series. If W.S. Neal takes the first game Friday, a third game will be played but will not affect the area standings for either team. With a win, W.S. Neal will qualify for the playoffs and T.R. Miller will be eliminated.
The win for the Eagles eclipsed the school record for best start to a season. The old record stood at 17-1 in 1969 before Thursday’s 18th win for the 2013 Eagles.