ECHS baseball on rough slide

Published 8:07 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County Blue Devils had a tough day on Feb. 24. They hung with the Spanish Fort High School Toros for most of the game, but lost 8-2 after Spanish Fort broke the 2-2 tie with six runs in the final two innings.
"We got a real good effort on the mound and a good defensive effort, but we just couldn't hit the ball," ECHS head coach Keith Nall said. "And that has been our problem up to this point in the season."
Sophomore starting pitcher Cody Vickrey (0-1) held the Toros to two runs in the first five innings, but he allowed two runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the seventh inning before Michael Thomas relieved him.
"I told Cody he was going to have to start the game right at the last minute," Nall said. "And he stepped in there and did great for us. He threw strikes and kept us in the game, but they seemed to have his timing down in that sixth inning. But anytime you can put a lefty out there who can throw strikes you are in good shape."
Vickrey took the loss and pitched six-plus innings, allowing six runs, four earned, on nine hits. He struck out one batter and walked none.
Thomas threw one inning and allowed two runs on two hits.
At the plate Justin Boykin, Eric Coley and Jonathan McNeill went 1-for-3. McNeill had a double and one run scored. Guyel Martin scored the other Blue Devil run. Thomas was 1-for-2 with a run scored, an RBI and one walk.
Flomaton 1 – Blue Devils 0
The other game of the Saturday doubleheader for the Blue Devils ended in a 1-0 loss to the Flomaton Hurricanes.
The game was a battle of No. 1 starters. Jonathan McNeil toed the rubber for the Blue Devils and went 6 2/3 innings before the winning run crossed the plate for Flomaton. McNeil allowed the one unearned run on eight hits. He fanned five Hurricanes and walked one.
"There were a bunch of hits scattered around against Jonathan, but never anything put together until the end," Nall said. "And even that run was unearned. We had a close call at the plate that could have gone either way, but unfortunately it went against us. It was a great performance by him and he threw the ball well, but we could not get the bats going."
The Blue Devils managed four hits and Justin Rolin went 2-for-3 and Elliott Faircloth and Eric Coley each grabbed one hit.
Blue Devils 2 – Flomaton 1
The Feb. 22 game against Flomaton in the Blue Devils home opener went a little better than the Saturday game against the Hurricanes, as ECHS won, 2-1.
"Again we did not swing the bats well, but Kevin Green kept us in the game and we pulled it out," Nall said.
Green (1-0) threw 4 2/3 innings for the win, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out 5 Hurricanes and walked four. Michael Thomas relieved Green in the fifth inning and threw the final 2 1/3 innings for the save. He allowed no runs on no hits and struck out two batters.
"It was one of those games where we hit the ball in the situations we needed to hit the ball and we came away with the win," Nall said.
Michael Thomas was 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, a single, one run scored and an RBI. Eric Coley was also 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Corey Flowers was 1-for-1 with an RBI and a walk.
Spanish Fort 7 – Blue Devils 1
The Blue Devils managed only three hits in their opening game of the season Feb. 20 in Spanish Fort, losing 7-1 to the Toros.
Corey Flowers was the star of the night for ECHS, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, a single, one run scored and an RBI. Jonathan McNeil recorded the only other hit for ECHS and Justin Boykin, Eric Coley, Elliott Faircloth and Michael Thomas each received a walk.
On the mound Jonathan McNeil started the game and went four innings, allowing one run on three hits. He struck out five batters and walked one. Flowers (0-1) relieved him in the fifth inning and was saddled with the loss after he allowed six runs on four hits in 1/3 of an inning. He struck out one and walked two. Michael Thomas relieved Flowers and pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on no hits and striking out two Toros.
The Blue Devils traveled to Jay, Fla. Tuesday and the results of that game will be in an upcoming Advance. The team's next game is tomorrow against Hillcrest on the road. On Saturday the Blue Devils host border rival Northview High School in the first round of the 2007 Baseball Border War.

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