Walsh brothers lift Florala to first-round sweep over Calhoun behind no-hitter, perfect games

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Cody Walsh fired a no-hitter and brother Easton Walsh threw a perfect game as Florala defeated Calhoun, 13-0 and 12-0, in the first round of the 1A baseball state playoffs on Thursday, April 18.

Florala’s Cody Walsh threw a no-hitter in the first game of the doubleheader and struck out 10 of the 12 batters he faced. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

The Wildcats move their record to 20-1 on the year and have now won 17 straight games. The Tigers ended their season with a 10-6 record.

Game 1: Florala 13, Calhoun 0
Cody Walsh struck out the side in the opening inning when Calhoun went down in order on just 12 pitches. Dalton Jackson and Easton Walsh walked as courtesy runner Greyson West ultimately reached third. Brenterrius Managan rallied back and kept Florala off the board in the first.

C. Walsh continued to bring the heat and struck out three more Tigers in the top of the second. Jacob Laura reached on a leadoff error and stole second before Preston Truman walked. Following a walk to Kaden Cantrell that loaded the bases, Rayshon Coleman delivered a two-run single through the right side for a 2-0 lead. Cantrell eventually came home on an error, and C. Walsh helped himself with a sacrifice fly that drove in Coleman. The Wildcats left a runner at third but built a 4-0 lead at the end of two innings.

Calhoun was unable to solve C. Walsh’s powerful arm in the third and went 1-2-3 on three more strikeouts. Laura scored the fifth run on a wild pitch as a defensive miscue sent Truman home. Jackson extended the margin to 7-0 with an RBI single to left. Jackson then stole second before West entered as his courtesy runner. C. Walsh knocked another RBI single and sent West to the plate. C. Walsh scored off a passed ball, while Laura lined an RBI single up the middle and scored Noah Bryan for a 10-0 lead after three innings.

Ladarrius Thigpen reached on an error in the top of the fourth and stole second. After a groundout and another error sent Thigpen to third, he was tagged out at the plate for the second out. C. West earned his 10th strikeout and ended the Tigers’ only real threat of the game. Coleman led off the home portion of the frame with a single as Jackson and C. Walsh walked. Coleman crossed the plate on a wild pitch as E. Walsh walked and reloaded the bases for the Wildcats. West scored when Bryan was hit by a pitch, and Ayden Brooks walked to bring in courtesy runner Nathan Cook for a 13-0 lead. The game was then called early due to a mutual agreement made between both schools.

Coleman went 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs. Jackson, C. Walsh, and Bryan were all 1-for-2, while Laura finished 1-for-3. C. Walsh earned the no-hit win and threw all four innings with 10 strikeouts.

Rayshon Coleman got the scoring started with a two-run single for the Wildcats in the second inning. Coleman finished the doubleheader with three hits, five runs, and four RBIs. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

Game 2: Florala 12, Calhoun 0
Easton Walsh started a two-out rally in the second game with a single and ultimately took third on an error in the top of the first. E. Walsh scored the initial run for Florala on a wild pitch. Much like his brother, E. Walsh opened the game with a bang and struck out the side on 12 pitches.

Christian Carnley took first on an error and doubled the lead to 2-0 in the second when he scored on a wild pitch. After Coleman walked, Jackson hit a two-run blast to left for a 4-0 margin. C. Walsh scored on another defensive miscue, and E. Walsh capped the frame with a run off a wild pitch. E. Walsh had no trouble in the bottom half and fanned the side in order once again to keep the score 6-0 after two innings.

Cantrell stroked an RBI double to bring home Brooks with the seventh run in the third. Coleman followed with an RBI triple and sent Cantrell to the plate. Jackson then ripped an inside-the-park home run as Coleman came in and built the lead to 10-0. C. Walsh followed with a triple and scored on an RBI double from Bryan. After stealing third, Bryan scored the final run of the day on yet another defensive mistake. Cook singled but was picked off and ended the threat with the score at 12-0. C. Walsh finished with a flourish and did not allow a batter to make contact with three more strikeouts. Once again, the game was called early due to a prior agreement.

Jackson led at the plate with a 2-for-3 outing that included two runs and four RBIs from his two home runs. E. Walsh was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, and Cantrell also finished 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI. E. Walsh picked up the win and needed only 34 pitches (28 strikes) to complete his perfect game.

Dustin Hinson filled in as acting head coach for Tyler Zessin who was unable to be in attendance due to the birth of his first child.

Florala now turns focus to a second-round matchup against the Maplesville-Millry series winner next week. The Wildcats would host Maplesville but travel to Millry.