Intense rivalry

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Andalusia’s Will Harrison makes a sliding catch in right field Monday night in his team’s victory over Straughn. The two teams will meet again tonight in a doubleheader to decide who will win or lose the series. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia beats Straughn 11-5, defense shines

Andalusia’s and Straughn’s intensity level reached a new level on Monday night.

The Bulldogs powered their way to an 11-5 area victory over the Tigers, and improved to 15-6 on the season going into today’s doubleheader against SHS to complete the series.

AHS played a near-perfect game in the field, only committing one error.

Leading the defense was sophomore pitcher Ross Graham. Graham threw six innings, allowed no walks, struck out three and allowed eight hits to get the win.

“Ross Graham did a great job throwing strikes,” AHS coach Jonathan Rasberry said. “When you don’t walk people and put the ball in play, it gives you a chance to win.”

Andalusia got off to a solid start in the second inning, plating three runs on one hit and an error.

The Bulldogs took a 4-0 lead in the third inning, but the Tigers bounced back with three runs of their own in the top of the fourth.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Andalusia put the game out of reach by scoring three runs on two hits.

Straughn hit in one run in both the fifth and sixth innings to keep the game honest.

Andalusia mounted nine hits against Straughn’s Chase Short and Keith Edgar. Edgar received the loss, throwing four innings and allowing five earned runs, while striking out four.

Three of the Bulldogs’ nine hits scored five runs — two runs in the second inning on a two-run single by Zach Ward; one run in the third on a bunt by Will Harrison; and two runs in the fourth on a two-run double by Tyler Raines.

“I thought we did a good job with our approaches at the plate,” Rasberry said. “That was one of our better games we’ve had swinging the bat with our approaches. Chase is a very good pitcher, and we did a good job with him.”

Andalusia took a 7-3 lead in the fourth inning on Raines’ double and Quinton Maddox’s RBI single that scored Grayson Campbell from second base.

In the fifth inning, the Bulldogs took a 9-5 lead when Jud Rogers and pinch-hitter Stewart Studstill scored on errors.

Straughn’s Doug Mosley hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to score Taylor Messick; and Brennan Head hit an RBI single to score Edgar in the sixth.

The Tigers’ three runs in the fourth came on back-to-back RBI doubles from Short and Edgar; and then an RBI single from Johnny Owens.

Straughn’s Zack Turvin connects with the ball Monday night in the first inning. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

All of Straughn’s runs were earned in the contest.

Short led the Tigers and went 3-for-4 with an RBI; and Mosley and Edgar had two hits each.

Andalusia’s Michael McCalman went 0-for-0 and scored three runs to help the Bulldogs in the win. McCalman’s runs came in the second inning off of Ward’s single; in the third inning off of Harrison’s bunt-single; and in the fourth inning off of Raines’ double.

Raines led the Bulldogs and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs; Rogers went 2-for-5 with one RBI; Ward went 1-for-5 with two RBIs and a run; and Graham went 1-for-3 with two runs.

When Graham sat down in the seventh inning, Campbell came in and got the save, allowing no runs on three hits.

“I give credit to our defense,” Rasberry said. “All the way around our dug out. They got out there and were intense.

“They went out there and played the game we needed to play at Andalusia,” he said.

Straughn coach John Fussell declined to comment after the game.

First pitch in today’s doubleheader at Straughn is slated for 4 p.m.