Tuesday’s 7-0 win over visiting Lincoln completed the first round of Cleburne County’s home-and-home series against area opponents and upped the Tigers to 3-0 in area play. The Anniston Bulldogs come to Heflin today at 5 p.m. to start the second round.
Cleburne County coach Vaughn Lee said his team worked Saturday “with a lot of effort drills.” He characterized the effort against the Golden Bears Tuesday as “great.”
“We played well last night, still didn’t just explode but we played very sound baseball last night,” Lee said early Wednesday afternoon.
Against Lincoln, the Tigers manufactured single runs in the first and second innings, added three in the fifth and two in the sixth in support of starting pitcher Max Watson. Watson allowed just two hits and one walk over seven innings. He fanned eight in a complete-game effort.
Lee said Lincoln’s two hits came on a leadoff base hit and “a nubber that spun around in the infield.”
“He came to play and did a great job on the mound,” Lee said of Watson.
In the first inning, leadoff batter Anderson Jacks reached on a two-base error. Austin Harler singled to put runners on third and first before Brady Padgett’s sacrifice fly scored Jacks. Ross Price opened the second inning for the Tigers with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Matthew Shortt singled to right field, creating another third and first situation. Trey Bolton’s sacrifice fly got Price home and Cleburne County led 2-0.
With one out in the fifth, Jacks started another Tiger rally with a single to center and Harler reached on an error. With two down, Tyler Berry tagged a drive to deep center for a two-run triple.
Lee said Berry’s blast “kind of blew the game open for us.” After Cole Corkren was hit by a pitch, Berry scored when Price reached on an error.
In the sixth, Bolton singled to left and sped all the way to third base when the outfielder misplayed the ball. Watson helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to send Bolton home. Singles by Jacks and Padgett put men on second and first and Jacks scored on Berry’s base hit to left.
Berry finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. His triple was the only extra-base hit for the Tigers. Jacks and Harler each went 2-for-4.
“We played flawless defense, threw some guys out. Catching-wise, Harler did a great job. Defensively, we made a lot of plays. It was sound baseball,” Lee summarized.
The win over the Golden Bears in which the Tigers did not make an error was in sharp contrast to Cleburne County’s two losses in the Bradey Munroe Memorial tournament. The Tigers made six errors in losing to Handley and six more in a loss to Priceville.
Cleburne County hosts White Plains Saturday at 3 p.m. and travels to Munford in area play Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.