Eagles end season with a win and marathon
The Eagles of Oak Mountain said good-bye to their two seniors, Nick Nelson and Justin Prine, Saturday with games they will remember for years to come.
The Clay-Chalkville Cougars came to Oak Mountain with a 26-5 record making them No. 3 in the state (6A) and No. 1 in the metro rankings.
The Eagles had not read the statistics and were not properly intimidated.
David Gough pitched his best game of the year in the opener. Gough gave up four hits, struck out four and walked two.
Burnett relieved him in the seventh.
OHMS leadoff man Jarrod Pescatore singled to right and Johnson advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt to open the first inning. Burnett got on with an error by the second baseman and Pescatore moved to third. Nick Nelson hit a shot the shortstop fumbled, scoring Pescatore and putting Burnett on second. Jeff Curvin singled to right-center scoring Burnett and was then thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double. Oak Mountain led, however, 2-0.
The second inning was uneventful for both teams but the third had some action. The first two Cougars were retired and the third singled to center. The next man bunted and got on, putting runners at first and second.
The next man singled but couldn’t drive home the lead runner, loading the bases. Gough hit the next batter forcing in a run.
The last out came with a fly to Pescatore in left field. OMHS led the Cougars 2-1.
It stayed quiet offensively for both teams until the fifth inning. The Cougar leadoff man doubled to deep left and the next man singled him home. That’s all the scoring, and the game was tied at two apiece.
Oak Mountain’s Prine hit a double deep into the left field corner. Pescatore came up again and looked to continue his hitting streak in this game &045; he was 2-for-2 with two singles already. Pescatore drilled a high fastball against the fence in right center scoring Prine and raced to third with a triple, giving the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
Burnett came in to relieve Gough in the seventh. Burnett faced six batters and struck out the last two with blazing fastballs.
The Eagle offense was working once again as they collected nine hits. Pescatore led the Eagles going 3-for-3 with a triple and two singles. Blake Wood and Jeff Curvin each had a pair of singles while Prine added a double and Joe Osborn a single.
CCHS 7, OMHS 5
The second game started at 3:10 and no one suspected it would go for more than three-and-a-half hours.
The Eagles scored first in the bottom of the second. Nelson, the first Eagle batter, walked and was sacrificed to second by Curvin. Carter moved him to third with a ground-out to the second baseman. A wild pitch brought Nelson home and the Eagles led 1-0.
The Cougars tied it in the fourth with a double, a double-steal after the next man walked and a sacrifice fly to Pescatore in left.
The score remained tied at 1-1 until the fifth when Eagle third baseman Ryan Kral singled to center. Prine then tripled into the right field corner scoring Kral and giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
Oak Mountain added two more in the sixth when Jeffrey Reach led off with a double and moved to third on a passed ball. Burnett, the next batter, walked and OMHS had runners at first and third. Burnett stole second on the third pitch to Nelson. Then Nelson flew out to left scoring Reach while Burnett moved to third. With the score Oak Mountain 3, Clay-Chalkville 1, Youngblood decided to call a squeeze play. He knew this was risky because two recent attempts failed and catchers tagged out the runners easily. On a 2-1 count, Burnett broke for home and Curvin laid down a perfect bunt toward first. The Cougars do not react fast enough and Burnett scored as Curvin stopped at first with the score 4-1.
The Cougars came back in their half of the seventh. Oak Mountain hit the first batter and the second one singled. The third batter flew out to Carter at second and the fourth got hit to load the bases. The next batter walked to score a run (4-2) and the sixth grounded out second-to-first scoring another two runs (4-4).
The seventh batter singled home another run (4-5) and the inning finally ended when catcher Osborn threw out the runner trying to steal second.
Prine, who was having a storybook finish to his high school baseball career, doubled as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh. Pescatore grounded to second and moved Pescatore to third. Reach, who had consistently made contact with the ball all season, stepped up. Youngblood has the tying runner on third with one out and decided to try the suicide &045; again.
Reach laid it beautifully along the first base line while Pescatore streaked for home. The only play the Cougars could make was to first base and Reach was thrown out, but only after Pescatore had tied the game. The next batter struck out, sending the game to extra innings.
Batters come and go without scoring for both sides the next three innings and the game is more than three hours old.
The first two Cougar batters singled in the 11th and both advanced on a passed ball. A runner scored on another passed ball (6-5 Cougars) while the trailing man moved to third. A sacrifice bunt to first scored the final run of the game (7-5).
Osborn doubled in the bottom of the 11th after two outs but the Eagles could not go on any longer and the three hour, forty-five minute marathon and Eagle 2002 season ended.
Pescatore was the big gun with a triple and a double. Reach added a double while Curvin, Carter and Kral each singled.
OMHS 7, Pleasant Grove 4
The real Oak Mountain Eagles showed up to play baseball in a come-back-style game reminiscent of their win over Homewood two weeks ago.
Pleasant Grove was expecting another win over the fumbling Eagles. Just last Saturday OMHS committed three errors against the Spartans at home and lost 5-2. The Eagles had 10 hits in that game and left eight on base.
Jarrod Pescatore was the Eagles’ first hitter in the first inning. He hit the first pitch for the first single. The Spartans retired the next three and it was their turn to bat.
The first three up hit three singles off Eagle starter Brett Johnson before the inning was over. Pleasant Grove 1, Oak Mountain 0.
The Eagles did nothing offensively in their half of the second but Pleasant Grove did. Another singles three-peat resulted in two more runs and it was 3-0 going into the third inning.
Joe Osborn, the first Eagle batter in the third, singled to right and moved to second on Pescatore’s sacrifice bunt. Johnson singled and Osborn moved to third. Bear Burnett hit a shot to the shortstop who flipped it to second forcing Johnson. Osborn was still on third and Burnett on first when Nick Nelson singled to center. Osborn scored with Burnett behind him, hoping the center fielder could not make the play at home. Unfortunately for the Eagles, he could and the catcher tagged Burnett just short of the plate leaving the score Pleasant Grove 3, OMHS 1.
OMHS held the Spartans scoreless in their half of the third and came up for the fourth.
After the first batter flew out, Blake Wood singled to left. Kyle Dudley stepped up next and got hit by a pitch for the second time that night. With Wood on second and Dudley on first, Jeff Curvin singled to right-center scoring Wood. That was the end of the offense for that inning but OMHS had gotten a run closer, trailing Pleasant Grove 3-2.
The fifth inning was uneventful for both sides from a scoring standpoint. The sixth, however, was much better for OMHS. Johnson punched a single over the second baseman’s head scoring with the bases loaded, scoring Curvin and Osborn who were moving on the pitch. The inning ended soon after with no more scoring but the Eagles were ahead 4-3.
The Spartans couldn’t score and OMHS began the seventh with Will Carter’s single. Wood walked and Dudley laid down a bunt along the first base line. Curvin singled again with the bases loaded and brought two runs home. A double play stopped the OMHS rally for a moment but when the Pleasant Grove shortstop fumbled Pescatore’s grounder, Dudley scored the third Eagle run of the seventh inning giving the Eagles a 7-3 lead.
Johnson had pitched well all night but the Spartans finally wore him down. When the leadoff hitter in the seventh tripled to the left-center fence, OMHS coach Tommy Youngblood called for Burnett. Burnett got the first hitter to fly out to his center field replacement, Justin Prine, and then struck out the next batter. A single scored the man on third and the Eagles’ lead was cut to 7-4. Burnett put the next better on base but struck out the last one Giving the Eagles the win.
Johnson picked up the win and got two singles on the night. Dudley and Curvin matched that with a pair of singles each. Pescatore, Burnett, Nelson, Carter, Wood and Osborn all added singles in the Eagles’ most balanced attack in a very long time