Fort Dale Eagles clinch playoff berth

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2005

David Moore tossed a four-hit shutout for Fort Dale to help the Eagles clinch a spot in the Alabama Independent School Association playoffs with a 5-0 victory over Morgan Academy on Tuesday.

With the win, Fort Dale (12-5) now needs to win one of the two games at Hooper Academy today to capture the Class AAA, Area 2 West title.

But Eagles coach Clint Lowery said he won't be satisfied with just one win.

"We don't want to just win the first game and then just have fun and take a loss," Lowery said. "I don't want to go into the playoffs with a fresh loss."

The win over Morgan Academy also put Fort Dale in the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

The Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Brady Newton scored on a RBI single by Adam Moore.

Fort Dale then tacked on two more runs in the third inning when Casey Weston scored on a RBI double by Eric Hicks. Hicks later scored on a RBI single by Newton.

The Eagles put the finishing touches on their shutout win by scoring two runs with two outs in the fifth inning.

Weston tripled in David Moore and Chuck Barrett.

"We're playing real good ball right now," Lowery said. "Sometimes we have lapses here and there, but our guys played seven solid innings."

Fort Dale also hit the ball well. The Eagles closed out the day scattering 11 hits.

Senior catcher Cory Ausderau said Fort Dale improvement leading up to the playoffs has been the Eagles ability to hit.

"Our offense has really picked up since the first two weeks of the season," Ausderau said. "Plus, he have had some good fundamental defense to back up our pitchers."

A 12-5 season also is a breath of fresh air considering he along with seven other seniors on the Fort Dale squad suffered through a 1-27 season in their freshman year.

"We were never thought of as a baseball school, but we have stepped it up," Ausderau said. "We have made a statement to the rest of the state after beating teams like Morgan two of three times. We are here, and we're not pushovers any more."

Should the Eagles win the area championship, it will host either Mobile Christian or Faith Academy in the first round of the playoffs on May 3-4. If Hooper Academy sweeps the Eagles, they will be on the road in the first round at Mobile Christian or Faith Academy.

But Barrett expects the Eagles to sweep Hooper today.

"We want to sweep them," he said. "We're not going up there just to have fun."

Barrett said the Eagles are stewing over their last loss at Escambia Academy last week.

"When (coach Lowery) got on the bus he just looked at us," he said. "He didn't have to say anything because he knew how mad we were that we lost that game. We don't accept losing anymore. We go out to win."

Barrett will take the mound in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader , and Adam Moore could start Game 2.