Al­covy out­lasts Pan­thers in re­gion ac­tion, 11-7

Tigers score school-record in runs en route to vic­tory

The Covington News - - Sports - By Ja­son Mur­dock

COV­ING­TON — In just its sec­ond sea­son, the Al­covy High base­ball team matched its win to­tal from a year ago Fri­day night with an 11-7 vic­tory over Jack­son County.

And it’s only mid­way through the 2008 sea­son.

Not only did the Tigers (4-9 over­all, 3-6 Re­gion 8-AAAA South) keep their play­off hopes alive, they man­aged to do so in con­vinc­ing fash­ion by plat­ing a school- record 11 runs, in­clud­ing seven dur­ing the first in­ning.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Al­covy coach Joe Mob­ley, “and we’re go­ing to be good down the road. We’re still not there yet, though, but our fu­ture looks very bright.” Prior to the win over the Pan­thers (4-10, 3-9), the Tigers dropped four in a row af­ter com­ing off back- to- back re­gion vic­to­ries over Cedar Shoals and Clarke Cen­tral.

But su­perb pitch­ing by sopho­more Tay­lor Jack­son and a plethora of of­fense earned the Tigers their fourth win.

“Coach (Mob­ley) said if I did good then I’d prob­a­bly get more starts,” Jack­son said, who pitched Fri­day against Lo­ganville in mid­dle re­lief ac­tion. “I think that helped him make the de­ci­sion to start me to­day.”

In his first start on the mound, Jack­son ( 1- 0) was sen­sa­tional, throw­ing 50 pitches in five and one-third

in­nings of work. He al­lowed two earned runs on six hits, strik­ing out four com­pared to one walk.

“Tay­lor is very eco­nom­i­cal with his pitches,” Mob­ley praised. “He doesn’t throw a lot of balls; he throws a lot of strikes, and that’s why I like to put him out there be­cause he’s around the plate. He’s just a solid kid who goes out there and gives you a good day’s work.”

But the Tigers found them­selves trail­ing early af­ter a Matt Bolt RBI sin­gle put the Pan­thers up 1-0 in the first in­ning. How­ever, Al­covy coun­tered by plat­ing seven runs on five hits and three walks in the bot­tom of the frame.

In fact, not only did the Tigers bat around, but each player ei­ther scored a run or drove in an RBI.

“ That first in­ning was huge,” Mob­ley said. “ The ball­game ain’t over ‘til the ball­game’s over. I don’t know what we’d had done oth­er­wise if we hadn’t scored seven in the first, but it was a great way to start the ball­game.”

Al­covy’s Jimmy In­gram, Shaun Carter and El­lis Fan­ning each recorded RBI sin­gles in the in­ning. Jack­son added an RBI triple to deep cen­ter field to com­plete the on­slaught.

On the re­ceiv­ing end of the tor­rid of­fen­sive dis­play was Jack­son County start­ing pitcher Matt Broom ( 1- 3), who only lasted two-thirds of an in­ning. He also al­lowed six earned runs, help­ing Jack­son re­lax some­what in his first start.

“The score re­ally (doesn’t) mat­ter to me when I’m on the mound,” Jack­son said, “but if it’s close I like it bet­ter. Hav­ing good coach­ing makes me feel like I can put the ball in more places around the plate.”

Af­ter two score­less in­nings, the Tigers in­creased their lead to 10-1 in the bot­tom of the fourth thanks to a mon­ster three- run homer to left by Carter.

“Yeah, it was a big shot,” Carter, a sopho­more, ad­mit­ted re­gard­ing his sec­ond homer of the sea­son.

The Pan­thers closed the gap in the top of the sixth with solo home runs by Tay­lor Kennedy and Bolt, mak­ing it 10-3 and forc­ing Jack­son out of the game.

But Al­covy got one run back in the lat­ter half of the in­ning af­ter sopho­more Bryan Daniel blasted an RBI sin­gle up the mid­dle, scor­ing Drew Parker who had pre­vi­ously walked.

Jack­son County made a run in the end, adding four more runs in the top of the sev­enth to make it in­ter­est­ing. Broom led the charge with a two-run blooper to left to keep hope alive, cut­ting it to 11-7.

With run­ners on first and sec­ond, Mob­ley opted to go with yet an­other sopho­more, this time south­paw Beau Thomas. Af­ter Sean John­son reached safely on a field­ing er­ror by Fan­ning, Rob Wil­liams strolled to the plate rep­re­sent­ing the ty­ing run.

But Thomas de­liv­ered to earn the save, forc­ing a ground out to Fan­ning at sec­ond base, aton­ing for his ear­lier boot and end­ing the threat.

“It’s huge for th­ese guys’ con­fi­dence,” Mob­ley said of his team’s abil­ity to hold on down the stretch. “We sweated a lit­tle bit, but that hap­pens in Ma­jor League Base­ball ev­ery­day. It hap­pens in base­ball any­where you go — you’ve got to have peo­ple ready to go in the sev­enth in­ning. So, it was huge for us to hang on and win.”

Carter fin­ished the day with a game-high four RBIs, go­ing 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Fan­ning led the Tigers with three sin­gles in four plate ap­pear­ances.

“The big thing about that three-run homer is you never know when you have enough runs in base­ball,” Mob­ley said, “ and to­day was a prime ex­am­ple. You’d think an 11- 3 lead would be enough go­ing to the top of the sev­enth, but you never know.”

Over­all, the Tigers bat­ted .345 (10-for-29) with seven base on balls. Mean­while, the Pan­thers were 9-for-30 (.300) while draw­ing three walks.

Kennedy, Bolt, Wil­liams and Mike Pow­ell each recorded two hits apiece to lead the Pan­thers.

“We grew up a lot from last year,” Carter said. “We would have lost this game last year.”

Al­covy will next host Rock­dale County at 5:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

MOB­LEY

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Flamethrower:

Al­covy’s Tay­lor Jack­son de­liv­ers a pitch Fri­day in an 11-7 win over Jack­son County.

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