Wildcats take down Calera at home

Shelby County's Nick Lowery drives a ball to the outfield in a Feb. 28 win. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Shelby County’s Nick Lowery drives a ball to the outfield in a Feb. 28 win. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

COLUMBIANA —  The bats came alive for Shelby County in the nightcap of Feb. 28 doubleheader with Calera, as the Wildcats downed the Eagles 12-3.

Calera got on the board first, as a Dylan Reddin single brought in Connor Bush to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

In the bottom frame the Wildcats answered, as Kyle Cofer, Hunter Horton and Nick Lowery all came across to score to put the home team up 3-1.

Calera tied the game in the top of the second when Tyler Harrell and Ryne Phelps scored on a pair of fielder’s choices.

Shelby County used a Cofer walk that turned into a run on a passed ball to take a 4-3 lead.

Things remained quiet for both squads until the Wildcats used a Pennington blooper that dropped in between third base and left field and a bunt by Cofer to generate two more runs to extend the lead to 6-3. Evan Nash scored from second on a Cofer single to add another run in the fifth.

After a three-up, three-down top of the sixth for the Eagles, the Wildcats pounced. A single by Horton and a walk by Lowery turned into a pair of Wildcat runs off a Zac Scott double. Cody Venable and Austin Balzli tacked on two more runs, and the Wildcats headed into a final inning with a comfortable 12-3 lead.

Cody Jones pitched a one-hit, shutout seventh inning to seal the win.

Head coach Shane Beasley said he was proud of his team’s offensive effort.

“(We) just got the bats going a little bit,” he said. “Jonathan Palmer (who pitched the first game of the doubleheader) did a great job for us. Cody is pitching pretty good. Putting some hits together gives our team a little confidence there. A couple wins, and they start believing. We’re 3-7, but we’ve played a lot of close games. To get over the hump’s going to help our confidence.”

Horton led the way at the plate for Shleby County, going 1-for-2 with a hit, two runs, an RBI and drew two walks. Jones went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Cofer was 1-for-3 with three runs and two walks drawn.

Jones went seven innings, surrendering three earned runs on five hits and punching out six.

For Calera, Harrell went 1-for-3 with a run. Bush and Tyler Ferguson each went three innings, with Ferguson giving up six earned runs on six hits, with five walks and five strikeouts.