Calera goes 2-2 at challenging Perfect Game tourney

Published 6:10 pm Monday, March 7, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – The Calera Eagles put together a 2-2 record at the difficult Perfect Game Tournament March 3-5 at the Hoover Met Complex.

The Eagles picked up a Thursday sweep of Glencoe and Cherokee before losing two tight games against Bob Jones and Sparkman on Friday and Saturday to close the tournament.

Calera opened the tournament with a dominant 12-1 victory against Glencoe on Thursday afternoon, scoring one run in the bottom of the first and then busting the game open in the third with 10 runs.

Glencoe added one in the top of the fourth, but the Eagles finished off the game with one more in the bottom half to grab the win.

Nick Bunn led the way for Calera with a 3-for-4 game featuring two RBIs and three runs scored, while Christian Byrley finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Lane Busby also added multiple RBIs with two behind a 1-for-3 game.

Matthew Windham, Will Allen and Preston Stokes all had RBIs as well.

Stokes got the start on the mound and pitched three solid innings, allowing one hit and no runs with four strikeouts. Joe Sisneros came in to finish off the final two innings and also totaled four strikeouts, while allowing one run on two hits.

In the second game of the afternoon, the Eagles squared off against Cherokee (Georgia) High School.

This time around, they needed extra innings in a thrilling battle.

Matthew Bullard’s dominance on the mound was a big reason for the success. Not only did he pitch the usual complete seven innings, but tossed both extra innings as well, only reaching 84 pitches.

He struck out three in his time on the mound and allowed just one run on six hits.

His presence helped the offense be patient throughout the game, which allowed them to walk it off in the ninth.

Calera actually fell behind 1-0 in the top of the fifth and trailed by the same margin going to the bottom of the sixth.

The Eagles, however, wiped away the scoreless first five innings with a Byrley sac fly that drove home Windham, who doubled to lead off the inning.

Then, after both teams went scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, the Eagles came through with the win in the bottom of the ninth when an error by the Cherokee first baseman allowed Bentley Berry to score for the 2-1 win.

Berry and Bullard both went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Windham finished 2-for-4. Jacob Somners and Stokes each had one hit, while Byrley had the only RBI for the Eagles.

A day later, Calera came out and took a 2-1 lead on Bob Jones through four innings, but four consecutive runs from the Patriots between the fifth and seventh innings made the difference in 5-2 loss for the Eagles.

Windham had another multi-hit game with two hits and the team’s only RBI, while Bullard, Will Harrison and Stokes each had one hit.

Tyler Douglas pitched 5 1/3 innings and struck out three while allowing four runs on three hits. Harrison tossed the final 1 2/3 innings allowing three hits and one run with two strikeouts.

Calera closed the tournament out on Saturday, March 5 against Sparkman and struck first yet again. But the Eagles then gave up one in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh to fall behind 9-1.

They did mount a comeback attempt in the bottom half of the final inning, but the four runs scored weren’t enough in a 9-5 loss.

Windham finished off a strong tournament with a 2-for-2 game at the plate featuring two walks and a run scored. Berry totaled two RBIs in the loss, while Byrley, Douglas, Somners and Aspen Long each had one hit.