Bulldogs take doubleheader opener over West Blocton
By TREY HICKMAN/For the Reporter
WEST BLOCTON — With the score sitting at 5-5 heading into the top of the seventh, visiting Montevallo unknotted the tie with three runs and relief pitcher Chase Hamrick held the West Blocton bats at bay in the bottom half of the inning as the Bulldogs grabbed the 8-6 win in the first game of a varsity baseball doubleheader Feb. 25.
West Blocton hurt itself in the top of the seventh, committing three errors and walking a pair of batters, while Montevallo’s run production in the Bulldogs’ final at-bat was highlighted by Justin Pickett’s RBI single.
West Blocton’s Brendan Burns belted an RBI single of his own in the bottom half of the seventh, but that would prove the only run the Tigers would plate in their final turn.
“That’s (our seventh-inning performance) a good thing, but we have to have the same kind of focus that we had in the seventh (in the first through sixth innings as well),” said Montevallo head coach Trey Simpson. “That’s the key. If they (the Bulldogs) play their game, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
Montevallo’s Hamrick also had an impact with the bat, blasting a three-run home run in the top of first, a good omen early on for the Bulldogs. Montevallo held the lead until the bottom of the fourth, when Craig Martin, Jake Parks and Noah Smelcer each drove in a run for West Blocton as the Tigers snagged a 5-4 advantage.
The Bulldogs quickly erased the West Blocton edge via Will Snyder’s sacrifice fly that scored Brady Hamer and put the contest at 5-all. The scored stayed knotted until Montevallo’s trio of runs in the top of the seventh to put the visitors on top by three, with the Bulldogs ultimately taking the two-run victory.
“On the mound we’re still working (from) behind,” Simpson said. “We pitch guys who throw three (different) pitches and go right at guys and throw (those pitches) at any count. But when you’re working from (a) 2-0 (count), it’s hard to do that.
“We had a big first inning with a big home run and then we kind of let it die. We have to clean up the mental mistakes.”
Wesley Mims notched the win for Montevallo, going two innings, yielding a hit, issuing a walk and striking out three.
Chase Hamrick powered the Bulldog bats with his three-run homer, followed by Jonathan Pintaro, who went 1-for-2 with a double and three walks. Mims scored twice and stole a base while Brady Hamer scored two runs of his own.