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Neal sweeps Straughn to open playoffs

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W.S. Neal pinch runner Malcolm Hawthorn scores as teammate Dylan Godwin (6) celebrates during the Eagles’ seven-run fourth inning in game two of the playoff series. (Josh Bean/jbean@al.com)

W.S. Neal’s perfect season continues.
The Blue Eagles (25-0) swept past visiting Straughn on Saturday to earn a Class 3A first-round playoff victory, winning 10-0 in five innings and 12-6.

“When you’re undefeated, you probably believe you’re going to win,” Straughn coach John Fussell said. “They’ve got a great ball club. That’s what eight seniors will do for you.”

In the opener, W.S. Neal took advantage of nine walks issued by Straughn pitchers Tucker Lawless and Rollin Kinsaul and ended the game by the 10-run mercy rule when Cam Blackmon’s bases-loaded hit scored Jeremy Myers.

Left-hander hander Brian Settle allowed only three hits, walked none and never allowed a runner past second base in the complete-game victory. He also picked off two runners and benefitted from the Eagles scoring three runs in the first inning.

In game two, Straughn’s Keith Edgar hit a three-run homer to build a 4-0 lead, but the Eagles answered with seven runs in the fourth inning.

“When we scored seven in that one inning, it was a different ball game,” W.S. Neal coach Coy Campbell said.

W.S. Neal now moves on to the second round and tries to keep its perfect season alive, but Campbell said the winning streak is not a major topic of conversation.

“At this point, you’ve just got to win two and move on,” Coy Campbell said.