Eagles pick up two area wins over Thompson
Published 12:19 pm Friday, April 15, 2016
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
Oak Mountain and Thompson played three baseball games from April 12-14, two of which had significant playoff implications. The Eagles and the Warriors both compete in 7A Area 5 alongside Hoover and Tuscaloosa County, and both needed wins over the other to strengthen their playoff bids.
Oak Mountain came in to the series with Thompson 0-2 in area play, having dropped two games to Hoover on April 5 and 7, while Thompson brought a 1-1 area record into the series, having split with Tuscaloosa County on the same days. If two area opponents meet more than twice in the regular season, which Oak Mountain and Thompson did, only the first regular season game at each home site counts toward each team’s area record, and Oak Mountain won them both against Thompson, putting the Eagles in good shape to snag the second playoff berth out of the area.
Game 1. April 12 at Thompson High School.
Oak Mountain 5 – Thompson 3
Ethan Holsembeck and Joseph Hartsfield scored in the first inning of the first game, giving the Eagles an early 2-0 lead, which they did not relinquish. Thompson scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth when Matthew Blaes, Riley Reach and Lance Johnson all crossed the plate, closing the gap to 4-3, but Oak Mountain added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, and held on for the 5-3 win.
Joseph Hartsfield threw a complete game for the Eagles, going seven innings and throwing 122 pitches while giving up three hits on one run and striking out nine. JC Parker went the distance for the Warriors as well, throwing 127 pitches over seven innings, giving up five runs, three of them earned, on eight hits in the losing effort.
Game 2. April 14 at Oak Mountain High School
Oak Mountain 8 – Thompson 2
Gene Hurst took the mound for Oak Mountain in the second game of the series, which was the first game of the series on April 14 and the first of the series that took place at Oak Mountain High School. Hurst pitched a gem for the Eagles, needing only 76 pitches to get through seven innings. No Thompson batter advanced past second base until the seventh inning, when Oak Mountain held a commanding 8-0 lead. Chris Lewis and Jonathan Crawford scored in the seventh inning for Thompson, but it was much too little much too late for the Warriors, as Hurst led the Eagles to a crucial win.
Game 3. April 14 at Oak Mountain High School
Thompson 11 – Oak Mountain 10
Where the Thompson bats were quiet in the first game at Oak Mountain, they woke up in the second, driving in 11 runs over six innings. Thompson needed all 11 of those runs to get the win, as the Warriors had to withstand a late, six-run inning from Oak Mountain to escape with the victory.
Heath Haskins hit a grand slam in the top of the second inning, his 10th bomb of the season, to give the Warriors an early 6-0 lead. Haskins also made just his fourth appearance on the mound this season in the seventh inning, coming on in relief with the game on the line to secure the win.
The Warriors (20-17, 1-3) have won three games against area opponents to date, however only one of those victories, the first win over Tuscaloosa County on April 5, counts toward Thompson’s area record. Thompson will play Hoover on April 19 and again on April 21, and the Warriors need to win both of those games to realistically have any chance of returning to the playoffs, but will still need help. Oak Mountain (22-11, 2-2) will play Tuscaloosa County on April 19 and on April 21, and has to win just one of those games to secure a playoff spot.