Red Level ends Florala win streak; both teams set to begin playoffs

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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Two different streaks came to an end as the regular season closed when Red Level took down Florala, 9-3, in varsity baseball action Monday, April 17.

The Tigers snapped a five-game slide and improved to 8-7, while the fifth-ranked Wildcats broke an eight-game winning streak and fell to 12-2.

Both teams will begin the postseason with a first-round playoff series this week.

Brock Skipper started the game and retired the side in order on just 14 pitches with two strikeouts. Buddy Griffin reached on an error in the bottom of the first and scored the first run on a wild pitch. Javen Poindexter and Caleb Padgett walked with two outs and loaded the bases, but Dalton Jackson kept the score 1-0 with a strikeout. Skipper had another 1-2-3 inning with five pitches in the top of the second. The bottom half was quiet as the game moved to the third inning.

FHS was unable to reach base once again before RLS pushed three runs across and took a 4-0 lead. Walker Simmons walked and set up a single from Connor Blackwell. Poindexter then delivered an RBI double and drove in Simmons. Padgett followed with a sacrifice fly and scored Blackwell. Following a strikeout, Poindexter crossed home for the final run of the frame.

Blackwell took over on the hill in the fourth inning. John Howell opened with a walk, and Zane Weeks delivered a single through the left side. Judd Goolsby cut the deficit in half with a two-run double in the gap and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jackson brought the score to 4-3 with a sacrifice fly. Seth Bundy walked before Blackwell struck out the next two batters and preserved the one-run lead. Skipper led off the home portion of the inning with a free pass and reached third, but Howell escaped the threat unscathed.

Howell took a second walk in the fifth from Poindexter, but that was all the Wildcats could muster. The Tigers manufactured their fifth run in the home half when Blackwell scored on a sacrifice fly by Grayson Hodges. Goolsby threw out Padgett attempting to steal second and ended the inning.

Jackson was hit by a pitch in the top of the sixth as Ayden Brooks pinch hit and earned a walk. Poindexter maintained the 5-3 lead until the last of the frame when four crucial runs scored. A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases with no outs. After a strikeout, Blackwell widened the margin to 7-3 with a two-run single that scored Skipper and Griffin. Malikye Wright and Blackwell then crossed the plate for a 9-3 lead on a pair of wild pitches before the inning ended. Howell and Weeks kept the game alive with two singles with two outs in the seventh before a flyout closed the contest.

Blackwell went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Poindexter was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Skipper was credited with the win with three perfect innings and struck out three. Weeks finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Goolsby was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. Jackson took the loss despite allowing one unearned run on no hits and striking out three in 1 2/3 innings.

Florala will host Notasulga in the first round Thursday, April 20, with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. A third game will be played Friday, April 21, at noon if necessary. Red Level travels to Central-Hayneville on Friday for its opening-round doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. A third game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. if necessary.