Drew comes up big on the diamond

Published 8:50 pm Monday, March 12, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
The game had gone all bad for the Escambia Academy Cougars Saturday against Lamar Academy in the opening game of the Patrician Tournament, but Joe Drew changed that with one swing of the bat in the seventh inning.
Drew drilled a moonshot that EA head coach Jason Barnett said "has not landed yet!"
The Cougars committed five errors in the first five innings and all of Lamar's five runs were unearned. The Cougars trailed 5-0 heading into the sixth inning, but scored one run in the sixth inning and one in the seventh before Drew stepped up to the plate with two runners on.
"Joe hit a three-run bomb to tie the score at 5-5," Barnett said. "And I don't think that ball has landed yet, that is how hard he hit it."
Later in the inning, Cody Norton scored the winning run after reaching base, being moved over by Tyler Brown and scoring on a passed ball.
"I was so proud of these guys for never giving up," Barnett said. "They didn't allow the early errors to beat them and they kept getting after it."
Kevin Maher pitched a complete game for the win, allowing no earned runs and five hits. He had two strikeouts and three walks. But Barnett said he did not settle down until something happened to him.
"He got hit in the leg in the second inning and after that, he was lights out," Barnett said. "He was in complete control and he had great command. Their hitters could not do a lot with him."
Drew added a double and one more RBI to his total of 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, a run scored and four RBIs. Jon Dean was also 2-for-4 with a double. Austin Eicher went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Dustin Hall and Ethan Brooks each went 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored.
Clarke Prep 14 – Cougars 1
The Cougars made it to the championship game of the Patrician Tournament, but were unable to muster many runs against Clark Prep, losing 14-1 Saturday.
"The game started ugly and it got worse," Barnett said. "But I was proud of how the guys never hung their heads and they stayed in the game."
Tyler Brown started the game on the mound and was pulled after two innings of work. He allowed eight runs, five earned, on nine hits and Barnett said it was just a tough day for him.
"He was hitting his spots, but every time he would make a mistake, Clarke Prep would jump on it and take advantage of it," he said. "So Austin came in and stopped the bleeding."
Barnett said the offense still has not come around and that played a part in the loss to Clarke Prep. He also said Clarke Prep is a good team.
"I would be surprised if that team does not make it to the Final Four in 3A this year," Barnett said. "They could hit the baseball."
Cody Norton went 1-for-2 at the plate with a triple and an RBI. Ethan Brooks was 2-for-2 and Jon Dean went 1-for-3.
Cottage Hill 4 – Cougars 3
When the Cougars of Escambia Academy traveled to take on Cottage Hill Academy Tuesday, the Cougars almost came away with a close victory over a Class 3A opponent.
"We were up 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh," Barnett said. "But we left Joe (Drew) in just one inning too long. It was a great defensive effort and the pitching was outstanding, but we just couldn't pull it out."
Cottage Hill scored two runs in the inning and Drew took the loss for the Cougars (2-2), pitching seven innings and allowing four runs on seven hits and registering five strikeouts.
"We played well enough to win that game, but we just couldn't get it," Barnett said.
Dustin Hall led the Cougars, going 1-for-3 at the plate with a double, a walk and two RBIs. Drew added an RBI. Austin Eicher was 1-for-3 with a double and Kevin Maher was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and one run scored.
The Cougars traveled to Monroeville for a doubleheader with Monroe Academy yesterday and the results will be in an upcoming Advance. The team's next game is tomorrow at home against Evangel. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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