Cougars baseball wins area title

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, May 2, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
With a 14-1 shellacking of Sparta Academy April 24 on Senior Night the Escambia Academy Cougars locked up the AISA Class 2A Region 1, Area 1 title. The Cougars posted a 5-1 area record.
The game was over in five innings because of the mercy rule in high school baseball. EA scored two runs in the first inning, five in the second and six in the third before Sparta even got on the board.
Sparta pushed a run across in the fourth inning and EA added one more run in the fifth.
Senior Joe Drew led the charge at the plate for the Cougars, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Senior Cody Norton went 1-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored. Senior Andrew Lambeth was 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and two runs scored. Senior Austin Eicher went 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Senior Kevin Maher was 2-for-3 with a double and one run scored.
Dustin Hall was 1-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored. Jon Dean was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored. All together the Cougars had 14 runs on 15 hits.
Hayden McGill toed the rubber for the Cougars and allowed one run on two hits and struck out seven batters.
Patrician 3 6 – Cougars 2 2
After clinching the Area 1 championship, the Cougars faced Patrician Academy in the first round of the AISA Class 2A playoffs and were swept at home. The Cougars led 2-1 with two outs and an 0-2 count on the batter in the seventh inning of the first game, but a double and a one base error combined with what EA head coach Jason Barnett called a "swinging bunt" tied the game.
In the extra frame Patrician pushed a runner across the plate and the Cougars could not answer in the bottom of the eighth inning.
On the mound for the Cougars was Joe Drew and Barnett said he pitched well.
"Joe probably pitched his best game of the season," Barnett said. "And neither of the pitchers in the game deserved to lose that game because they were both amazing."
Drew allowed three runs on four hits and registered eight strikeouts and four walks.
Cody Norton and Dustin Hall each went 1-for-3 at the plate and Norton had a walk and one run scored and Hall stole a base and recorded the other run for EA.
Barnett said the way the Cougars lost the first game was the reason they lost the second game of the doubleheader.
"We never did get off the mat in that second game," Barnett said. "I truly believed before we started the games that if we won the first we would win the second because of the depth of our pitching staff. But emotionally we were drained in that second game. And we were never mentally in the second game."
The Cougars lost the second game 6-2. Jon Dean was 1-for-3 with a run scored and Norton went 1-for-3 with a stolen base and one run scored.
Tyler Brown was saddled with the loss for EA, pitching a complete game and allowing six runs and striking out seven batters.
Barnett said he was proud of how the Cougars played in the second half of the season and to make the playoffs was great.
"You don't win seven in a row without a lot of heart," Barnett said. "I am so proud of these kids for how they stepped up and played hard."

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