Eagles leave too many stranded, fall to Sparta

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2006

Fort Dale Academy left the bases loaded midway through its non-area matchup with nearby Sparta Academy and ended up leaving eight baserunners stranded total in an 8-6 loss to the Warriors, who picked up their first win of the season on Thursday at Beeland Park.

Sparta managed just five hits for the game, but took advantage of six Fort Dale errors and then dodged a late bullet in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Eagles (7-8) left the game-tying run stranded on second base.

&#8220We didn't hit that well, and we left too many on base,” Fort Dale coach Clint Lowery said.

Actually, the Eagles did hit the ball scattering 13 hits, but could not get those baserunners across the plate.

Sparta jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Fort Dale battled back to tie the game midway through the game.

The Warriors then bounced back in the fifth inning to plate four runs and chase Fort Dale starting pitcher Davis Watts.

Watts ended up working 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and just two earned runs thanks to some crucial Eagle errors.

But Fort Dale battled back in the sixth to plate three more runs to draw within two of Sparta heading into the seventh.

Ben Coker came in relief of Watts and pitched a near perfect game allowing no hits and striking out three to keep the Warriors from adding to their lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Bruce Hollyfield started the rally with a one-out single to right field.

Hollyfield then advanced to third base on a Coker single to right. On the throw to third, Coker advanced to second still with just one out.

The Eagles then went down in order by looking at a strike three and then a groundout to the shortstop to end the game and give Sparta the win.

Blake Mullins and Coker finished with three hits each, while Cory Johnson and Hollyfield had two hits a piece.

Earlier this week, Fort Dale positioned itself for a chance to earn a playoff berth by knocking off rival Monroe Academy 4-2 at Beeland Park on Tuesday.

With the win over the Volunteers, the Eagles now need to win at least one game in an April 29 doubleheader with Hooper Academy to earn the runner-up spot in the area and a berth in the Alabama Independent School Association playoffs.

Monroe did outhit Fort Dale 7-6, but the telling part of Tuesday's game is that the Eagles did not commit a single error.

Starting pitcher Casey Weston went the distance against the Vols allowing seven hits and two earned runs, while striking out nine.

Johnson led the Eagles going 2-for-2 with two RBIs, while Watts was 2-for-3.

Fort Dale returns to action at 1 p.m. today at Escambia Academy in another non-area matchup.