Eagles to face Guntersville in playoffs
by Lori Tippets
With their backs against the wall the Jacksonville Golden Eagles beat Alexandria in game two of their area series 5-1, to advance to the playoffs.

The Eagles will travel to face Guntersville on Friday in a best-of-three series.

The Eagles started their series with Alexandria knowing that their playoff hopes lay in their own hands. Two wins would give the Eagles the area championship; one win would assure them a playoff spot.

Game one at Alexandria was typical Alexandria-Jacksonville warfare. The game pitted the Eagles Shed Long against Alexandria’s Logan Doss.

Both defenses backed up their pitchers and for the first two innings there was no score.

Jacksonville drew first blood in the top of the third. Long was hit by a pitch, Jackson Bell reached on an error and Tanner Sims drew a walk to load the bases with one out. A sacrifice fly by Sid Thurmond brought in a run and the Eagles went up 1-0.

The Cubs quickly retaliated scoring one run in the bottom half of their inning to tie up the game.

The score remained deadlocked until the Eagles scored another run in the top of the sixth. A single by Chance Marbut scored Thurmond who had reached on an error.

Once again Alexandria jumped right back scoring another run in the bottom half of the inning to tie up the game at 2-2.

Jacksonville exploded for three runs in the top of the seventh and looked like they were well on their way to securing a playoff spot and had hopes for an area championship.

Against a new Cub pitcher, Nate Whaley reached first after being hit by a pitch, Long hit a double and Bell singled bringing in Whaley and then Long scored on an errant throw.

Another error on the Cubs outfield brought in another run and the Eagles led 5-2 going into the bottom half of the seventh.

As happened the first time the two teams faced off this season, Jacksonville led going into the bottom half of the seventh but errors cost them the game; déjà vu. Alexandria started with a double and two singles to score a run. Two errors on the Eagle infield in succession brought in two more runs to tie the game at 5-5. With the bases loaded, another error gave the Cubs the win, 6-5, and the area championship.

Jacksonville ended with five hits in the game, a double by Long and singles by Bell, Thurmond, BJ Murphy and Marbut.

Facing a shortened season, the Eagles were all about winning in game two. Jacksonville quickly went up 2-0 in the first inning.

With two out, Bell reached on an error, Tanner Sims hit a double over the right fielders head to score Bell and Thurmond doubled to score Sims.

The Eagles kept right on going in the second inning. Tippets started things out with a single and with the bases loaded after two walks Bell, who ended the game 2-for-3, hit a double to clear the bases and give the Eagles a 5-0 lead.

The Cubs scored their only score of the game in the third on two hits and a Jacksonville error.

Both teams were held in check after the third inning and the Eagles won, 5-1 to reach the playoffs.

Payton Sims picked up the win on the mound for the Eagles pitching a complete game giving up five hits, all singles, and one walk while striking out three.

Bell was the top hitter for the Eagles going 2-for-3 with the double, Tanner Sims and Thurmond both had doubles and Long, Payton Sims and Jared Tippets all had singles.

The Eagles (18-8) also played Etowah and Westbrook Christian over the weekend, losing to Etowah 6-5 while picking up a 7-5 win over Westbrook Christian.

Thurmond had a great day at the plate for the Eagles against Etowah going 3-for-4, Long was 2-for-3, and Whaley, Tanner Sims and Lavontae LaCount all had hits.

Thurmond was also very impressive on the mound for the Eagles against Westbrook Christian. Coming in with the score tied 5-5 in the fifth inning; Thurmond struck out nine batters and gave up only one hit as the Eagles won 7-5 in the extra inning game.

With two outs in the top of the eighth, Bell came through again for the Eagles hitting a double to score two runs.

Both Bell and Long both had two hits with a double, Thurmond and Payton Sims were 2-for-4 and Whaley, Tanner Sims, Tippets, LaCount and Andrew Clingan all had singles.
© 2013