Fort Dale juniors

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 12, 2006

slip by Cougars

By Kevin Taylor

With the bases loaded with one out, Fort Dale Academy junior varsity baseball coach Josh Beverly called on Daniel Nolan to close the door on an impossible comeback by Escambia Academy last Tuesday.

Beverly just put the ball in eighth-grader's glove and told him that he had the opportunity to win the game for Fort Dale.

Nolan forced the final two Cougars to hit into choppers that landed in his glove to help preserve an 11-10 victory in Fort Dale's first game of its inaugural junior varsity season.

&#8220He's a mentally tough kid,” Beverly said. &#8220He was that way in football. He'll always do his best. The next day, I asked him if he heard what I said and he said that he didn't because he was too focused.”

Brantley McKeown, who came in relief of starting Fort Dale pitcher Todd Burkett, was credited with the win after 2 1/3 innings of work. McKeown allowed two hits, three walks and struck out four.

Nolan was credited with the save.

&#8220He's stepped up for us, and he's going to be a very good athlete when he gets bigger and better,” Beverly said of Nolan. &#8220He's going to be a handful for teams down the road.”

Escambia jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Eagles managed to scratch the scoreboard. Fort Dale tacked on a run in the bottom of the second and then knotted the game in the third before the Eagles seemingly broke the game open in the fourth inning.

Fort Dale added seven runs in the inning to take what seemed to be a commanding lead, but Escambia battled back in the fifth.

&#8220We jumped out 11-4 and then we ran into control problems,” Beverly explained. &#8220That's when we had to call on McKeown and Nolan to close it out for us.”

McKeown led the Eagles at the plate going 3-for-3. He was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, he also scored two runs and had a RBI.

Kendall Gibson was 2-for-3with a double and three RBI.

Fort Dale was scheduled to face Pike Liberal Arts on Thursday, but the game was cancelled because of inclement weather. So now the Eagles are off for two weeks before returning for an April 3 date with Morgan Academy.

&#8220We'll do a lot of intrasquad play between now and then,” Beverly said.