Hester’s grand slam helps Oak Mountain breeze past rival Briarwood

Published 6:56 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain Eagles picked up the win over their local rival Briarwood Christian Lions in a big way thanks to an explosive start from the offense.

Oak Mountain capitalized on early opportunities to set up Kaleb Hester for a grand slam and send the Eagles on their way towards a 6-1 win on Saturday, March 2 at Oak Mountain High School.

After allowing just a Jake Souders double in the top of the first, the Eagles got to work early in the bottom of the frame.

Alex Harrison drew a leadoff walk that was followed by a single by Peyton Parkinson. After a groundout, Reed Hartsfield took advantage of an error to load up the bases.

Then, Hester came up to the plate and blasted the first pitch he saw to left field for a grand slam to give his team a 4-0 lead.

From there, Oak Mountain cruised as it held Briarwood scoreless until the top of the fifth. That was when the Lions put Jackson Barnes and John Paul Harbor on second and third with back-to-back doubles, but Bryson Mormon earned back-to-back strikeouts to shut down the threat.

Briarwood did get on the board in the top of the sixth as an error, Souders single and Parker Daniels walk loaded up the bases for Seth Staggs.

He drew a walk for the Lions first run of the afternoon, but the Eagles got out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts for the second straight inning, this time with Reed Hartsfield dealing.

A pair of hit batters in the bottom of the same inning gave Oak Mountain a golden opportunity to extend its lead, and that’s exactly what the hosts did.

Will O’Dell hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring Hester home, and on the next at-bat, Erik Oxford entered the game and hit the first pitch he saw for a single. That brought Nick McCord home and finished off the scoring in a 6-1 win for the Eagles.

Morman earned the win after going five innings without allowing a run. He took five strikeouts against three hits and a walk.

Hester ended the day with four RBIs and two runs in a 1-2 showing at the plate. Harrison reached base in three of his four plate appearances with a 1-2 afternoon featuring a run and two walks.

As for Briarwood, Souders went 2-2 with a walk while Will Clark scored the lone run of the game. Houston Hartfield earned five strikeouts in 5.2 innings on the mound.

Oak Mountain will have another county matchup on its hands as it takes on the Helena Huskies at home on Tuesday, March 5 at 4:30 p.m.

Briarwood will continue its run of in-county games as it faces Chelsea in a two-game set with the first game being on the road on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.