Spain Park races ahead early to claim big area win over Oak Mountain

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars got the early jump on the Oak Mountain Eagles and never looked back as the Jags claimed an 11-0 win over their local rivals in area play on Monday, April 8 at Spain Park High School.

After Ella Ussery claimed two strikeouts to cap off the top of the first, Maggie Daniel drew a lead-off walk in the bottom half of the inning to get Spain Park started.

A sacrifice bunt by Tatum Lasseter advanced Daniel to second, and Charlee Bennett followed that with an RBI double to make the score 1-0.

Teagan Huey walked and Allie Whitaker was hit by a pitch to put another pair of runners on, but during Whitaker’s at-bat, Bennett was caught stealing home for the second out.

After an early Eagles pitching change, Klara Thompson extended the lead in a big way with a three-run home run to left, putting the Jags up 4-0 at the end of the inning.

The Jags got another opportunity in the bottom of the second after a walk and an error to start the inning led to runners on second and third with two outs.

Oak Mountain withstood the pressure as it issued an intentional walk in a bid to get an easy out at second, and Sophia Williams claimed a strikeout to end the inning and the scoring threat.

Spain Park found itself in a similar bind when back-to-back walks and a hit batman loaded up the bases with one out in the top of the third. However, Ussery claimed two straight strikeouts to eliminate the threat.

That set up the Jags for a big bottom of the third as they pulled away with a six-run inning.

Whitaker hit a lead-off single to kick off the inning, and after the Eagles got the first out of the inning, they suffered two costly errors. The first one put Ussery on base after she attempted a sacrifice bunt, and the next one scored Whitaker from second base to make the lead 5-0.

Reagan Roberts then reached base off a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners, and that set up courtesy runner Hailey Nichols to steal home on the ensuing at-bat.

During that same at-bat, Caroline Charles hit an RBI single to center field to bring Roberts home from third and increase the lead to 7-0.

Maggie Daniel reached base on another fielder’s choice that didn’t lead to an out to keep just one out on the scoreboard. Lasseter followed that up on the next pitch with an RBI double to clear the bases and make the score 9-0.

Oak Mountain then issued back-to-back walks to load up the bases, and a sacrifice fly finally got the second out but scored the 10th run in the process as the courtesy runner Ruth Cherry came home to put Spain Park in run-rule territory.

The Eagles allowed the base paths to fill up once again off a walk, but they forced a fly out on the next pitch to end the third inning and the scoring threat.

A pair of base runners reached for Oak Mountain in the top of the fourth off a walk and hit by pitch, but the Jags quickly secured the third out after that.

Spain Park tacked on one more run to its total when Daniel hit a solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 11-0. That proved to be the final score as the Jags dispatched the Eagles in four batters in the top of the fifth to take the run-rule win.

Ussery took the win with seven strikeouts in three shutout innings as she surrendered just one hit and two walks. Reagan Stewart then came in for the final two innings to keep the scoreboard clean and only issue one walk in the process.

Spain Park will wrap up area play on Tuesday, April 16 on the road against the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies at 6 p.m. Oak Mountain will host Chilton County on Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m. before its next area game the following day against Chelsea at home at 4:30 p.m.