Spain Park, Oak Mountain split area-opening series

Published 8:54 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

County rivals Spain Park and Oak Mountain squared off to open up area play for the 2024 season, splitting their two contests on April 3 and 4.

The Jaguars took the first game with an offensive explosion, winning 10-3 after pulling away from the Eagles with five runs in the seventh inning.

The scoring got started in the top of the second inning of this game as Spain Park wanted to make a statement early. After a lead-off walk drawn by James Battersby, Chapman Blevins sent a ball over the left field wall for a two-run home run, giving his team a 2-0 lead.

Following a quiet third, Oak Mountain responded to the deficit in a big way. With two runners on and one out, Erik Oxford hit a double into right field, scoring one for the Eagles.

That momentum continued on the very next batter when Reed Hartsfield put a single into left field, plating another run and tying the game at two runs each.

After that, the game swung fully in favor of the Jaguars. After a pop out to lead things off in the top of the fifth, two singles and a walk juiced the bases. This gave way to both Battersby and Blevins, who each hit singles and picked up an RBI, giving Spain Park a 4-2 lead.

The Jags gathered one more run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth before it began its run in the seventh. After a single and a walk started the inning, Samuel Waldrop and Richard Moon hit back-to-back singles, scoring two runs to put Spain Park up 7-3.

Jacob Byrd ground into a fielder’s choice immediately following that, plating another run. This led to a bunt by Aiden Berke, where he ultimately reached on an error and brought in another run.

A sacrifice fly by Rhys Jones plated run 10 for the Jaguars, making it a 10-3 game and securing the game one victory for Spain Park.

Thursday’s game two did not follow the offensive trend, as Oak Mountain won the game 5-1 in a contest that did not have any runs scored until the fourth inning.

After three full innings of quiet offense, the Eagles finally broke the scoreless barrier. With a runner on first and two outs, Hartsfield hit a double into left field, scoring the game’s first run and giving his team a 1-0 lead.

Oak Mountain took advantage of the momentum it got from scoring the first run and extended that lead in the top of the fifth. After Owen Edwards got hit by a pitch, Nick McCord sent another double into left field, scoring Edwards.

Alex Harrison followed that double up with a left field double of his own, bringing in McCord and giving the Eagles a 3-0 advantage.

The Jaguars attempted to cut into the lead in the bottom half of the inning. They had runners on the corners and two outs when Matthew Widra hit a short single that brought a runner home and made it a 3-1 game.

Oak Mountain did not let its rivals get a sniff at coming back, though. In the top of the sixth, Kaleb Hester dropped a double to left field to lead off the inning, giving way to Hartsfield to come through in a big way with a double of his own. This brought a run home, making it 4-1 in favor of the Eagles.

Just for good measure, Oak Mountain extended the lead one more time in the seventh. After a triple by Harrison, Kevin Jasinski hit a double into center field to score Harrison and secure the 5-1 victory, splitting the series.

Christopher Gross picked up the win in game one for Spain Park with six innings of work. He gave up three runs on five hits, striking out three and walking four.

Blake Patrick got the loss in game two, surrendering three runs on five hits. He struck out and walked three batters each in his five innings of work.

Bryson Mormon picked up the game one loss for the Eagles, giving up four runs on six hits, while also striking out three and walking four. He was on the hill for 4.1 innings.

Jasinski earned a complete game win in game two, giving up one run on four hits, sitting down four and walking three.

With the split, Oak Mountain moves to 19-10 on the year, preparing for its area game on Tuesday, April 9 when it takes on Chelsea. The first pitch of that area series is set for 5 p.m. and will be at Oak Mountain High School.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars go to 21-8 on the season. They will look to improve on that record with a double-header on Saturday, as they travel to Northport to take on Tuscaloosa County and American Christian Academy. First pitch for both of those games is set for 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively, and will be played at Tuscaloosa County High School.