Oak Mountain improves to 4-1 with wins over Brookwood, Stanhope Elmore

Published 10:17 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After a season-opening win against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, the Oak Mountain Eagles continued their strong start to the season by improving to 4-1 with a run-rule win over the Brookwood Panthers and a doubleheader sweep against the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs.

The Eagles started out the week with a 12-2 win over Brookwood at home on Monday, Feb. 19 before beating Stanhope Elmore 3-0 and 4-2 in a pair of road games on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

In its first game against Oak Mountain, the Eagles used an eight-run second inning to secure the five-inning win.

After a leadoff double by Nick McCord, Owen Edwards brought him home with an RBI single to take the early 1-0 lead. The Panthers then gave up a walk and a hit by pitch before Edwards crossed home plate on an RBI groundout to make the lead 2-0 at the end of the inning.

Oak Mountain got an inning-ending double play in the top of the second that it immediately translated into more success at the plate.

Kevin Jasinski, Alex Harrison and McCord loaded up the bases with one out to give Owen Edwards the perfect opportunity to burst the scoring open.

He did just that by scoring a two-run single, and after he reached second on the throw to put a pair of runners in scoring position again, Peyton Parkinson scored two more runs on an RBI single to make the score 6-0.

Cole Kelly scored on a wild pitch two batters later to increase the lead, and a Noah Eady RBI sacrifice fly and Bryson Mormon two-run single closed out the scoring for the second inning.

That put the Eagles up 10-0 and in run-rule territory after just two innings.

Brookwood answered in the top of the third with a two-run single, but that was all that it could muster on offense for the game.

Zach Fitzgerald hit a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the third to make the score 11-0, and two innings later, Erik Oxford shut it down with an RBI single that scored Kelly from second to earn the 12-2 win.

The next day, Oak Mountain faced Stanhope Elmore in a doubleheader and won the first half of the two-game set 3-0 on a combined no-hitter.

The first five innings were a pitcher’s duel as the Eagles’ Reed Hartsfield and the Mustangs’ Ethan Walls as they combined for 13 strikeouts and kept the opposing bats scoreless.

Hartsfield earned seven strikeouts in five innings of no-hit baseball while allowing just one walk in the top of the fifth.

Walls came out of the game at the top of the sixth inning, and Stanhope Elmore’s bullpen couldn’t continue his dominance to give Oak Mountain an opportunity.

Edwards and Kaleb Hester reached base on walks, and after a stolen base and a wild pitch, Eady came up big with two outs and hit a single which kicked off a chaotic sequence of events.

Thanks to an error by the Mustangs left fielder, all three runners scored, including Eady, to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

Alex Harrison entered the game in relief and pitched a pair of perfect innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced to polish off the combined no-hitter and take the 3-0 win.

The second game of the doubleheader saw more offense from both teams in a 4-2 victory for Oak Mountain.

However, the first two innings were much like the first game of the day and didn’t produce a single hit from either club.

That changed in the top of the second when Joshua Hart reached on a fielder’s choice. He stole second and third before Owen Edwards walked before he stole home to out the Eagles up 1-0.

Stanhope Elmore couldn’t equalize over the next three innings, and in the top of the fifth, Oak Mountain capitalized again with two runners on base.

After the Mustangs pitcher was called for a balk that advanced both Harrison and Morman into scoring position, Hart hit an RBI single on the next pitch to plate another run and increase the lead to 2-0.

Stanhope Elmore responded in the bottom of the frame with a one-out RBI single to cut the deficit to one, and a couple of batters later, it equalized on another RBI single with two outs. The Eagles got out of the frame by catching the Mustangs on the base paths on the same play.

Oak Mountain nearly retook the lead in the top of the sixth after getting the first two batters on base by an error and a single, but Stanhope Elmore threw out the runner at home on a fielder’s choice.

However, that still left two runners on base, and a failed pickoff attempt on the next pitch let McCord score from third to put the Eagles up 3-2.

They increased that lead to 4-2 two batters later when Eady scored on an error, and that score held for the rest of the game to give Oak Mountain the doubleheader sweep.

Jasinski earned the win in a dominant 10-strikeout performance across 4.2 innings. He surrendered just two earned runs, two hits and one walk in the victory. Erik Oxford closed the game with two perfect innings and three strikeouts.