Special to The Advance
Published 11:11 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Fort Dale Academy coach Clint Lowery said last week that he wanted each game to be a momentum builder.
He certainly got what he asked for from his Eagle team by notching a 6-1 win over Escambia Academy in their season-opener Monday at Beeland Park.
Fort Dale's sophomore pitcher Casey Weston allowed just two hits, while striking out 11 to pick up the win on the mound. He also helped his own cause at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double, a solo home run and two RBI.
"We hit the ball well and other than a couple of little things, I think we did pretty good," Lowery said. "We have a couple guys who are new to some positions, and I was certainly pleased with their effort."
While Weston's pitching statistics seem impressive, he did show signs of fatigue in the sixth inning when Escambia Academy (1-3) loaded the bases with one out trailing 5-1.
Weston managed to regain his control to record his tenth strikeout for out number two, and then had another Cougar fly out to left field to stave off any comeback attempt.
"Right there is where I thought we had a good chance of getting back into the ballgame," Escambia Academy coach Mitchell Hughes said. "We had the opportunities, but you have to give Fort Dale a lot of credit. Their pitcher did a good job, and I'm not disappointed at all in what our guys did. They played hard against a good ball club."
The Eagles (1-0) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Weston drove home Andrew Phelps with a RBI double.
Fort Dale then tacked on two more runs from Will Bowman and Blake Mullins in the second inning before Weston crushed a Tyler Brown pitch over the left centerfield fence for a solo home run to give the Eagles a 4-0 cushion.
Brown finished the game giving up 11 hits, while striking out eight.
Mullins scored another run in the fourth inning before Escambia finally scratched the scoreboard.
John Brantley scored the Cougars' only run after reaching on a double and later scoring on a fielder's choice.
Phelps, who was 2-for-4 on the day, answered Escambia's run with a solo bomb to center to seemingly put the game away for Weston and the Eagles.
Brady Newton and Mullins also had two hits each for Fort Dale, which returns to action at Cottage Hill on Friday before Saturday's afternoon match up with Faith Academy.
The EA baseball team split their two games at the Patrician tournament last weekend against Patrician Academy and Monroe Academy.
In their first game the Cougars lost to Patrician 4-2, but head coach Mitch Hughes said his guys played well and it was good to score some runs after being shut out in the opening game of the season.
"We did a good job of getting hits and getting some guys on base," Hughes said. "But we just couldn't pull the game out."
The Cougars grabbed their first win of the season with a 9-5 victory over Monroe.
"It is always good to get that first win," Hughes said. "The guys played hard and I was proud of them."
Bruce Smith, Joe Drew and Jon Dean each contributed two RBI on the weekend for EA.
The Cougars faced Monroe again March 7, and the results will be in Sunday's Advance. The Cougars host Wilcox Academy in Canoe March 13 at 3:30 p.m.
Advance sports editor Matthew Nascone contributed to this article.