WSN baseball rallies to defeat Excel Monday night in season opener
It did not look well early for the W.S. Neal Eagle baseball team Monday night at home against the Excel Panthers in their season opener. But the Eagles weathered an early deficit, a 20-minute power outage and overcome the lack of hitting early to get a 5-4 win to start the year 1-0.
Down 2-0 after two innings of play and after the top of the fourth inning, the Eagles had no hits in the first game.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Eagles finally got the bats going as they got two hits in the inning and plated three runs to grab a 3-2 lead. In the inning, after tying the game at 2-all, a power outage hit the stadium and caused a 20-minute delay.
Up 3-2 heading into the fifth inning, W.S. Neal saw Excel plate two runs of their own as the Panthers rallied to grab a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
In the bottom of the inning, W.S. Neal tied the game at 4-4 with one out in the inning after a sacrifice bunt from Dakota Graves scored Malcolm Hawthorne. The Eagles of East Brewton would eventually take the lead in the inning when Tyler Joyner scored Taylor Elliott to give W.S. Neal a 5-4 lead.
Neither team would score the remainder of the game as W.S. Neal went on to get the win by one run.
“It was a big win for our guys,” W.S. Neal head coach Coy Campbell said. “A lot of guys playing this year this is the first time they have had this opportunity to play on this type of stage. Tyler (Joyner) did not have his stuff tonight. That was evident early. But at the same time, Lane (Chavers) came in and got us out of some crucial things and situations. So I was proud of that. That is what we are trying to find out early. Of course you want to win every game, but at the same time, you have to give the kids opportunities. We had some kids step up tonight that didn’t start and that came in later and provided a spark for us and we got some things done. That is what this bunch is going to be about. It is going to be a scrappy bunch and we are going to play hard and hopefully they will do what they are coached to do and we will go from there.”
In the win for the Eagles, Chavers got the win on the mound in relief of Joyner. Joyner went the first four innings and allowed four hits, two runs, walked five and struck out eight.
Chavers went the final three innings and allowed three hits, two runs, walked one and struck out two.
At the plate for W.S. Neal, Graves had one RBI while Joyner added a double and a single and one RBI.
Jared Cooper had a single along with Malcolm Hawthorne while Brandon Carmichael had a single and one RBI in the win.
After a home game Tuesday against Monroe County, W.S. Neal’s varsity will be back in action Monday against Washington County at Clarke County High School.