While the Fort Dale Lady Eagles were have a rough go at it against the Escambia Academy Lady Eagles in softball, the Fort Dale baseball team had the opportunity to see how the other half lived, so to speak. By recording a 10-2 win.
The Eagles were able to maintain a sizable lead on their opponents throughout most of the game and in two situations had a chance to end the game due to the 10-run rule. But were never able to get that tenth run across the plate.
"I thought it was good for the first game," said Clint Lowery, coach of the Fort Dale Eagles.
"We hit the ball well which was good and then we had four errors which was not that good. But Chuck Barrett pitched five very good innings and Eric Hicks pitched two innings to close the game out and I think Adam Moore was the leading hitter."
"We had a lot of people that played. I think we had 14 or 15 people get into the game, batting or running."
Escambia is a good team. They were 2-2 and already played four games. Last year they made it to the AISA final four and to beat them I think we played well."
In the fourth inning, the Eagles had jumped out to a 3-0 lead. With a pair of runners on base, Fort Dale's David Moore took a Cougar fastball to left-centerfield and was able to push two runs across the plate. That put Fort Dale up 5-0, but the Eagles were unable to get any more runs to end the inning.
The Cougars had their best scoring opportunity during the top of fourth inning. With one out, Escambia places runners on the corners, but in a display of passive coaching, never moved them. A drive to deep centerfield leaving the runner on third plenty of room to score was never utilized and Eagle pitch Chuck Barrett forced the third out when a Cougar batter hit a mile-high pop up that was caught by Barrett.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Eagles offensive explosion continued, saddling the Cougar pitching staff with four more runs to push the score to 9-0. With two outs and Moore on third, Fort Dale hits a long blast to centerfield. Moore tagged from third, but was gunned down at the plate by the Cougar-centerfielder to end the inning.
"When David Moore got thrown out at home we were trying to end it there but we could never get a deep enough hit and then we were trying and trying and trying to move people over but we couldn't," said Lowery. "It was kind of disheartening not being able to get that final run to end it. But I batted that don't normally bat. A win is a win."
Escambia's lone run came in the top of the fifth inning courtesy of a solo home run to left field. In the bottom of the inning, the Eagles tacked on a run to keep the nine run lead.
In the final inning of play, Fort Dale's frustration was beginning to show through.
First baseman Burt Rice took a hard grounder off the toe of his glove and then booted it to the secondbaseman who made a spectacular throw from his knees, but was unable to gun the runner down, having beaten the throw by a few steps.
Escambia went on to load the bases but was unable to push a run across the plate before the third out was made.
Fort Dale claimed the victory 10-1, to improve to 1-0 on the season and knock the Cougars to 2-3 overall.
This weekend, the Eagles will have an even bigger test thrown in front of them. Fort Dale plays host to Faith Academy in a doubleheader .
"Faith is good. I think they are having a little bit of a down year, but a down year to them is a good year for most people," said Lowery. "They have always got people signing with colleges and it's going to be a good test for us. Chuck Barrett will start the first game and I'm not sure about the second game."
"They are good and are going to bring about 25 players and all of them play. They know how to play the game, they aren't going ot make silly errors or silly baserunning mistakes. We are going to have to play a lot better than what we played today to beat them."
First pitch of Saturday's twinbill is slated for 1 p.m.