NO-NO NOTASULGA: Florala pitches way to second round with pair of no-hitters

Published 11:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2023

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Dalton Jackson and John Howell fired two no-hitters as Florala bounced Notasulga in a first-round 1A state playoff baseball doubleheader at home Thursday, April 20.

The Wildcats, ranked fourth in the state, improved to 14-2 on the season with a 14-0 win in game one and an identical 14-0 win in game two. The Blue Devils ended their season with a 4-7 record.

The games were the first playoff games played at FHS since the 2013 season.

Game 1
Keldrick Davis took a leadoff walk but was caught stealing second. Jackson struck out the next two batters for a scoreless top of the first. Howell took a free pass and scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch. Following a strikeout, Judd Goolsby walked and scored on an RBI single by Jackson. Rayshon Coleman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and brought home Jackson. Johan Zamora knocked a two-run single through the right side and brought in Seth Bundy and Colby Strickland for a 5-0 lead after one.

Jackson struck out the side in the second before the offense had nine runs in the bottom half. Zane Weeks started the frame with a double but was tagged out on a fielder’s choice. Jackson stretched the margin to 7-0 with a long two-run homer. Bundy earned a single, stole second and third, and scored on an error. Wyatt Brooks followed with a walk before Strickland reached on a bunt single. An error sent Brooks to the plate before Coleman hit an RBI double for a 10-0 lead. Coleman stole third and scored on a passed ball. Weeks lined an RBI single and brought home Zamora, while Goolsby tripled in Weeks for a 13-0 lead. Goolsby scored on a force play for a 14-0 lead after two.

Jackson continued to bring the heat with back-to-back strikeouts in the top of the third. Dorrian Pollard and Davis walked with two outs before a strikeout ended the threat. Umpires then announced the game was over early.

Jackson was 2-for-2 with two runs and three RBIs at the plate and earned the win in three innings. Zamora and Coleman were each 1-for-1 with a run and two RBIs, while Weeks finished 2-for- 3 with a run and RBI. Florala had 12 stolen bases in the game.

Game 2
As the visitors, the Wildcats picked up where they left off with three runs in the first. Jackson had a two-run single that plated Howell and Goolsby for a quick 2-0 lead. Jackson moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Bundy and scored on a passed ball for a 3-0 lead. Howell needed only 10 pitches for a quick 1-2-3 bottom half and struck out all three batters.

Jaden Seago reached on a one-out error in the second and scored on an RBI triple by Weeks. After Weeks scored on a wild pitch, Goolsby took third on an error as Jackson had an RBI single. Howell did not allow another base runner and kept the game 6-0 after two innings. The Blue Devils did not allow a run in the top of the third but continued to be held in check by Howell. He struck out the side again and sent the game to the fourth.

Goolsby and Jackson opened the fourth frame with consecutive doubles. Zamora made the score 8-0 with an RBI single and brought home Jackson. Kris Crayton was hit by a pitch in the bottom half, but Howell preserved the no-hitter. Dawson Reeves started the fifth with a single and moved to second on a walk to Howell. Weeks had another RBI single and scored Reeves. Goolsby brought home Howell and Weeks on a two-run single for an 11-0 lead. Following another RBI single by Jackson, Bundy singled and put runners at second and third. Brooks added to the big margin with a two-run single for a 14-0 lead. Howell capped his strong performance with another 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth as the game was called due to mercy rule.

Jackson led the batting charge at 4-for-4 with three runs and five RBIs. Brooks finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Weeks and Goolsby also collected two hits in the second win. Howell took the win with five innings of no-hit ball and struck out 13. FHS followed up their first game on the base paths with 10 more stolen bases.

Florala will travel to Billingsley or University Charter for a second-round playoff series next week.