Opp overwhelms New Brockton for sixth straight area title

Published 11:00 am Monday, April 15, 2024

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Opp avenged a 2-1 loss in a nine-inning pitcher’s duel to New Brockton in the series opener and roared to a varsity baseball doubleheader sweep on Friday, April 12.

The Bobcats improved to 17-6 overall and 5-1 in 3A Area 4 for their sixth consecutive area championship. The Gamecocks dropped to 17-11 and 5-1 in 3A Area 4.

Game 1: Opp 10, New Brockton 0
Cash Harrell retired New Brockton in order on eight pitches in the opening inning. Harrell and Grady Patterson started a one-out with consecutive singles in the bottom of the first. Courtesy runner Holt Blair stole third and scored the initial run on a wild pitch. Nelson Hall and Porter Nelson followed with consecutive walks and loaded the bases. Joshua Gutierrez then recorded a strikeout but walked Landon Langley as Patterson scored and gave Opp a 2-0 lead after one inning.

Harrell held the Gamecocks in check with a nine-pitch second inning and struck out two. The Bobcats gained some breathing room with five runs in their half. Will Jackson was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a one-out single by Harrell. Patterson drove home Jackson with an RBI double to center. After Hall walked and loaded the bases, Nelson launched a grand slam to right field and lifted the Bobcats to a 7-0 lead at the end of two.

Harrell struck out the side in the top of the third. Colby Ballard reached on a leadoff error in the bottom half, stole second, and took third on a groundout. Gutierrez stranded Ballard there and ended the inning with a strikeout.

Payton Green opened the visiting fourth with a single to center and was retired on a force play for the second out. Blake Peterson hit a liner into right, but Nelson fired a strong throw to third where Nolan Brown tagged out Dawson Peacock. Patterson walked before Hall reached on a fielder’s choice and swiped second. Nelson followed with a single to put runners at the corners with one out. Nelson stole second and was replaced by pinch-runner Ethan Morgan. Brown launched a long home run for a 10-0 lead after four innings.

Gavin Hand and Baylon Foster were each hit by a pitch in the top of the fifth with two outs. Harrell then struck out Kyle GaVette as the game ended early via the mercy rule.

Nelson went 2-for-2 with a run scored and four RBIs, while Patterson was also 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI. Brown had a 1-for-2 showing with a run and three RBIs. Harrell finished 2-for-3 at the plate for Opp and earned the complete-game win with eight strikeouts. Green led New Brockton in hitting at 1-for-2.

Game 2: Opp 21, New Brockton 2
Brown began the tiebreaker game with three straight groundouts. Riley Day led off the bottom of the first with a single and scored on an RBI double from Harrell. Patterson followed with an RBI single as Harrell scored for a 2-0 lead at the end of an inning.

The Gamecocks put two runners aboard in the visiting second but were unable to score. The Bobcats loaded the bases in their half with a single by Ballard, a double from Jackson, and a walk to Day. Harrell then drew a free pass, and Patterson and Hall delivered back-to-back RBI singles. A wild pitch sent Harrell to the plate with the sixth run. Brown hit a two-run single and scored Patterson and Hall for an 8-0 lead with two innings completed.

Brown struck out two and retired New Brockton 1-2-3 in the third. Opp recorded seven hits and took advantage of several walks for 11 runs in its half and took a 19-0 lead after three.

Peterson, James Downing, and Bryant Crumpler walked in the top of the fourth, but Brown struck out the side and held the Gamecocks off the scoreboard. The Bobcats added two runs in the home half for a 21-0 margin after four innings.

Green earned a one-out single in the visiting fifth and scored on a two-run homer by Riley Simmons. Brown retired the ensuing two batters as the game concluded.

Patterson finished 4-for-5 with a run scored and four RBIs as Hall was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Day went 2-for-2 with four runs scored and two RBIs, while Harrell had a 2-for-3 showing with two runs scored and two RBIs. Brown allowed two runs on two hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in all five innings on the mound.

Opp will host Dadeville in the first round of the 3A state playoffs on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, if necessary.