Big sixth inning gives Wildcats comeback win over Red Level

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Florala erased a six-run deficit and scored five runs in its last at-bat for a 7-6 win over Red Level in a varsity baseball game on Monday, April 15.

The Wildcats won their 14th straight game and improved to 17-1 for the year, while the Tigers finished the season 7-11.

Connor Blackwell led off the game with a single before Javen Poindexter was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, Grayson Hodges delivered an RBI single that sent Blackwell home with the first run. Tanner Whatley reached on a two-out error as Hodges scored and gave Red Level a 2-0 lead. Dalton Jackson and Cody Walsh opened the bottom of the first with consecutive singles. Starting pitcher Buddy Griffin kept Florala off the board with a double play and strikeout.

Koltin Barlow began the second with a walk, but Noah Bryan stranded him there with a strikeout and a pair of flyouts. Griffin struck out two in his half and kept the score 2-0 after two innings.

Hodges started a one-out rally with a walk in the top of the third. Wyatt Simmons and Whatley followed with back-to-back singles and loaded the bases. Kyler Barlow reached on a defensive miscue as Hodges and Simmons both came home for a 4-0 lead. Brock Skipper connected for an RBI single and drove home Whatley with the fifth run. Blackwell hit into a force play but earned an RBI and gave the Tigers a 6-0 margin. Griffin struck out two in the home half and worked around a single by Jackson for another scoreless frame.

Easton Walsh retired the side in order on nine pitches and then delivered a leadoff single to left in the bottom half. Bryan also singled as both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Ayden Brooks plated E. Walsh with an RBI single and cut the deficit to 6-1 at the end of four innings.

Kyler Barlow walked with one out in the Red Level fifth but was picked off. E. Walsh ended the frame with a strikeout. Jackson doubled to left center and scored off an RBI double by C. Walsh. Florala stranded a pair of runners but closed the gap to 6-2 with five innings in the books.

E. Walsh brought the heat again in the top of the sixth with two strikeouts and held the Tigers scoreless once again. Brooks and Christian Carnley led off the bottom half with singles. Kaden Cantrell followed with a groundout but moved both runners up 90 feet. Rayshon Coleman took first on a dropped third strike and set up a bases-loaded walk to Jackson. C. Walsh reached on an error as Carnley trimmed the hole to 6-4. E. Walsh came through in the clutch with a two-run single and drew the Wildcats even at 6-6. Bryan immediately followed with a go-ahead RBI single to right and sent Jackson to the plate. Jacob Laura then loaded the bases on a walk, but Griffin induced a 1-2-3 double play and left the score 7-6 after six innings.

Griffin led off the seventh with a single and took second on a groundout. E. Walsh held serve as the game came to an end.

Jackson paced Florala with a 3-for-3 showing and scored two runs and an RBI. Bryan was 2-for-3 with an RBI as C. Walsh, E. Walsh, and Brooks each finished 2-for-4. E. Walsh earned the win and allowed one unearned run on two hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of relief.

Hodges led Red Level at the plate and went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Skipper and Simmons were also 1-for-3, while Blackwell, Griffin, and Whatley each added 1-for-4 outings.