Spain Park edges Oxford by one, improves to 14-4 overall

Published 4:50 pm Sunday, March 19, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars continued their impressive 2023 baseball season on Saturday, March 18 with their fifth win in the last six games thanks to a fast start against Oxford.

The Jaguars scored six runs in the bottom of the first and then added one insurance run in the bottom of the fourth before holding on from there for a 7-6 victory against the Yellow Jackets.

The win marked the second in a row since the Jags lost their fourth game of the season to Vestavia Hills on Tuesday, March 14, bouncing back with a win against the Rebels by a score of 6-4 two days later and then the victory against Oxford.

The Jags have now won seven games during their 14-4 start by three runs or less, showing their comfort in tight games.

Oxford, however, did strike first in the top of the first inning with a two-out RBI single to take a 1-0 advantage.

But Spain Park quickly responded.

The Jags loaded the bases in the bottom half with no outs, which led to Clay Spencer driving home the early game-tying run with a single.

A second single in a row from Matthew Widra quickly gave the Jaguars the lead by driving home two runs, but that was just the start.

Another walk was followed by two more singles in a row from James Battersby and John Robert Thompson to bring home two more runs before an RBI grounder that ended in a double play ultimately drove home the sixth run of the inning for a quick 6-1 advantage.

Spain Park’s offense wasn’t quite as dynamic the rest of the way, but the Jags were patient at the plate, which led to their insurance run in the bottom of the fourth with three walks ultimately leading to an error with two outs allowing a run to score for a 7-1 lead.

Oxford tried to battle back, scoring one in the fifth, three in the sixth and one more in the seventh, but the Yellow Jackets ultimately left the game-tying run on base in the top of the seventh.

Widra was the leader at the plate for Spain Park with a 2-for-3 game featuring two RBIs, while Evan Smallwood, Spencer, Battersby, Thompson and Aiden Berke all had one hit. Spencer, Battersby and Thompson all added an RBI.

Christopher Gross got the start on the mound for Spain Park and struck out six while allowing two runs on six hits in five innings of work. Jackson Bradley, Battersby and Connor Langston all followed in relief to complete the win.