Straughn outlasts Andalusia in high-scoring baseball rivalry

Published 11:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Straughn erased a six-run deficit in the fourth inning and opened its home schedule with a 16-13 win over rival Andalusia in varsity baseball action on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season, while the Bulldogs fell to 0-3 for the year.

Parker Adams drew a leadoff walk and scored the first run of the game on an RBI double by Riley Cravey. Mason Meeks drove home Cravey with a two-out double before Kielan Davis gave Andalusia a 4-0 lead. Ryan Cobb struck out Sawyer Hardy for the third out of the frame. Straughn responded with a three-spot in the bottom of the first. Saxby Radford delivered a double to left center, and a pitch hit Eli Guilford. Matt Ashberry cut the deficit in half with a two-run double down the right-field line and plated Radford and Guilford. Clark Gay followed with a single up the middle and put runners at the corners with no outs. Ashberry scored on a passed ball as Cravey maintained the 4-3 lead with strikeouts of Layne Grantham and Mack McIntyre.

Cobb started the second with two quick outs before Adams tripled to right, and Mike O’Brien earned a four-pitch free pass. Cravey then drove in Adams and O’Brien with an RBI single to center for a 6-3 lead. Radford walked in the bottom half but was unable to advance keeping the score 6-3 after two.

Meeks led off the third with a walk, and courtesy runner Landen Butler took second on a single from Davis. Hardy advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt and set up a prime opportunity to extend the lead. Cobb kept the Bulldogs off the board with strikeouts of Tucker Ward and Cade Cassady. Guilford and Ashberry had consecutive singles in the bottom half before Gay walked and loaded the bases with nobody out. Guilford then scored on a fielder’s choice, while McIntyre doubled home Gay with two outs. Taylor Sikes reached on a two-out error, and Cobb scored for a 6-6 tie after three innings.

Andalusia regained momentum with six runs in the top of the fourth. Connor Ray scored Adams on a sacrifice fly before Davis laced a single and scored O’Brien and courtesy runner Wesley Romero. Hardy pushed the margin to four with an RBI single through the left side. Davis scored on a fielder’s choice, and Adams knocked an RBI single to right for a 12-6 lead. Radford began the home half with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ashberry that brought Straughn within 12-7 after four.

Ray crossed the plate on a wild pitch with one out in the visiting fifth and gave the Bulldogs a 13-7 lead. Gay took over on the mound and induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Grantham, McIntyre, and Sikes earned free passes in the bottom of the frame. Kaden Wiggins drove home Grantham, and Radford reached on an error that allowed McIntyre to score. Ashberry ripped a clutch two-out, two-run single as the Tigers cut the deficit to 13-11 after five.

Andalusia went quietly in its half of the sixth and set the stage for a five-run output from Straughn. Wiggins hit into a force play as Grayson Bush scored. Radford tied the score at 13-13 with an RBI single and brought home Grantham. Guilford and Ashberry followed with consecutive RBI singles for a two-run lead. Guilford scored the final run on a wild pitch and sent the game to the seventh inning.

Ray led off the final frame with a single to center but was forced out at second after the Tigers turned another 6-4-3 double play. Davis then reached on an error, and Hardy walked, but the Bulldogs saw their rally fall short when Ashberry induced a game-ending groundout.

Ashberry went 4-for-4 at the plate for Straughn with two runs and six RBIs. He earned the win with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief and allowed one hit, struck out one, and walked three. Radford finished 3-for-4 with four runs and two RBIs. Adams paced Andalusia with a 3-for-3 showing with one RBI. Davis was 3-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs. Cravey was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, and Ray also finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Straughn travels to Troy for a matchup with Pike Liberal Arts on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. Andalusia visits Opp on Friday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m.