Blue Devils, Cougars win thrillers

Published 5:32 am Monday, March 14, 2005

By Staff
Tim Cottrell
The Blue Devils of Escambia County High School, who have been unable to play in their home park due to damage from Hurricane Ivan, were to travel to Jay Thursday night to face off against the Royals of Jay High School. However, Jay's field had reportedly suffered even worse damage from Ivan, so the two naturally chose to play in Hurricane Park in Flomaton.
Coach Keith Nall felt the pieces were finally beginning to come in place for the Blue Devils.
"This was the best game we played all year so far," Nall said. "We had pitching, hitting, and defense. We hit the ball well, especially in clutch situations."
The Royals started off by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning, giving them a 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Blue Devils erupted for four runs in the top of the third inning.
The Blue Devils added another run in the top of the fourth, giving them a 5-2 lead. The Royals weren't done however, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth, while the Blue Devils scored one run, cutting the lead to 6-5 in favor of ECHS.
The Blue Devils notched one more run in the seventh, and after Jay rallied for one more run, Skylar Rolin shut the door, picking up the win in relief for the Blue Devils.
Darius English batted 2-4 for the Blue Devils, scoring two runs. Corey Flowers hit 2-3 while scoring a run and notching an RBI. Chris Graham batted 1-3, scored a run, and drove in three runs for ECHS. Graham also pitched 5 1/3 innings striking out two while giving up five runs (three earned). Johnathon McNeil batted 2-4 for the Blue Devils and scored a run. Farrell Staples batted 2-3. All the Blue Devil base-hits were singles.
"I was very pleased with the way we played," Nall said. "That shows that we are a good baseball team when we want to be."
Nall was also excited about his team's chances the rest of the way.
"We will win a lot of games if we continue to play the way we did today," Nall said.
The Blue Devils travelled to Molino to take on the Chiefs of Northview Friday evening, but that game was incomplete at press time.
EA 10, Monroe 7
The Cougars of Escambia Academy rallied from a 6-1 deficit through four innings to take a 10-7 win over Monroe Academy Tuesday afternoon in Monroeville.
Norris Brooks picked up the win for the Cougars, pitching all seven innings and striking out 11.
Cougar coach Mike Harrell was pleased with his team's tenaciousness.
"They definitely showed a lot of character staying in the game like they did and not giving up," Harrell said. "We made a lot of errors and mistakes but we fought through it."
Harrell said Brooks almost single-handedly brought the Cougars back in the game.
"Norris did it all for us," Harrell said. "He hit a home run and after a couple of innings really shut the door on them pitching."
Things started off slowly for the Cougars, with Monroe scoring three runs in the bottom half of the first inning.
The Cougars answered in the top of the second when Brooks lead off by reaching on an error. Matt Amerson laid a sacrifice bunt to move Brooks over to second base. Buckie Dawson was walked, and Cody Norton belted a single to send Brooks home.
Monroe added three more runs in the bottom of the inning, pushing their lead to 6-1.
The third and fourth innings were scoreless, but in the top of the fifth inning, the game changed with one swing of Norris Brooks' bat.
Cody Norton and John Brantley lead off the inning with back-to-back singles. After two fly-ball outs, Brooks belted a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw from the Monroe pitcher.
"When (Norris) hit that home run things started coming together," Harrell said. "Their pitchers started struggling a bit and we kept getting hits. We just stayed focused."
Monroe added a run in the bottom of the inning to push their lead back to three runs, but the sixth inning would be a nightmare.
Brandon Sanspree lead off the inning with a walk. Josh Montel then knocked a single to right field. Cody Norton and John Brantley added two more singles. Joe Drew added another single for the Cougars to drive in Sanspree. The singles continued for the Cougars, with Norris Brooks driving in Montel. Matt Amerson then drew a walk, forcing in Brantley to tie the game. Dawson singled again, and Sanspree doubled to drive in Brooks and Amerson. Montel flew out to end the inning.
The seventh inning was scoreless for both teams, and EA came home with a 10-7 win.
The Cougars will face Wilcox Academy Monday in Canoe.

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