Straughn rallies past Florala to clinch crown
It wasn't easy, but the Straughn Tigers went undefeated in the Covington County School System High School Baseball Tournament.
The Tigers had to win back-to-back games Saturday to finish tournament play undefeated and guarantee themselves the first-place trophy.
The day of baseball action at the Red Level High School baseball field began with Straughn taking on the Pleasant Home Eagles.
Straughn went on top 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning when Chris Watts, Daniel Turner and Justin Bracewell scored.
The score remained 3-0 in Straughn's favor until the top of the third when Pleasant Home cut it to one run. The Eagles scored two runs when Miles Nichols and Scotty McCraney crossed the plate to cut Straughn's lead to 3-2.
The Tigers answered with seven runs in the bottom of the third inning for a 10-2 lead. Watts, Bart Beam, Turner, Bracewell, Dustin Hinson, Jared Armstrong and Jamie Straughn each scored in the third inning for the Tigers.
Straughn won the game in the bottom of the fifth inning via the 10-run rule when Dustin Worley and Daniel Beckworth scored on a two-RBI hit by Justin Odom.
After a short break, the Tigers returned to the diamond to play the Florala Wildcats.
Straughn's Tigers pounced on the Wildcats early with Clark reaching on a lead-off double to start the game. After Watts reached on an infield single, Clark scored on a wild pitch later in the inning.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the third inning when Florala took a 2-1 lead.
Mark Geohagan reached on a one-out single and stole second. Zach Bradley followed Geohagan in the line-up and reached on an error by the second baseman as Geohagan motored to third. Bradley then stole second.
A passed ball allowed Geohagan to score and Bradley moved to third base. He scored when Robby Evans reached on an error by the Straughn third baseman.
Straughn went back on top in the top of the fifth inning when Clark and Beam scored. Clark reached when he was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Watts. Beam then reached on a bloop single which sent Clark to third. Beam stole second to put runners on second and third for Turner who drew a walk to load the bases.
Justin Bracewell came up with the bases loaded and "did his job" with a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Clark. Beam moved to third on the fly out. Beams cored when Brent Hinds ripped an RBI-single.
Straughn tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning when Dustin Worley (as a courtesy runner for Justin Bracewell) and Dustin Hinson scored. Justin Bracewell reached when he was hit by a pitch and Worley came in to run for the relief pitcher. Hinds followed with a single. Hinson reached on a fielder's choice with a ground ball that turned into a force out at second retiring Beckworth who had come into the game to run for Hinds.
Hinson stole second and nobody covered the bag to take the throw from the catcher and it skipped into center field allowing Worley to score. Hinson advanced to third on the error and scored later in the inning on a passed ball.
Florala managed to get out of the jam without any more damage, but trailed Straughn 5-2.
The Wildcats were down to the final three outs and mounted a rally.
Geohagan reached on a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bradley followed his lead with a shot down the left field line for a double. Evans followed with a RBI-single to plate Geohagan and cut Straughn's advantage to 5-3.
Kaleb Schofield was the next Florala batter and he came through with a bloop single that scored Bradley cutting Straughn's lead to one run at 5-4.
Marcus Schofield came up with runners on first and second with one out and hit a ground ball that was fielded by Bracewell. He threw to third for a force out and the Tiger third baseman fired across the diamond to first for a game-ending double play.
Watts started the game on the mound for the Tigers and went five inning. He allowed two runs and struck out nine. Bracewell came in to pitch in the sixth inning and went two innings. He allowed two runs and struck out three.