It’s spring break time at Cleburne County and the means it’s time for the annual Bradey Munroe Memorial baseball tournament for the baseball Tigers. The tournament started at White Plains – to honor a White Plains baseball and basketball player who died of cancer toward the end of basketball season in 2008 – and proved so popular it soon needed two playing sites.
The 2014 games begin today in Heflin and White Plains. Cleburne County meets Handley in today’s second game at Heflin, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Tigers play Priceville in today’s final game that should begin around 6:30 p.m.
On Friday, Cleburne County and Woodland clash in the day’s opener at 1 p.m. After the Bobcats play Munford, Cleburne County and Piedmont finish off the Heflin portion of the tournament with a game scheduled for 6 p.m.
In past years, this has been an important time for Tiger baseball.
“It seems like after this break, after this tournament, we seem to improve our most from now until the end of the regular season. We seem to play more consistent,” Cleburne County coach Vaughn Lee noted. “I don’t know what it is, if it’s the break or if it is the tournament or if it’s just warmer weather. Over the past couple of years, we have played much better from spring break on. We seem to make our most improvement.”
Lee said he planned to start Max Watson against Handley and Brady Padgett against Priceville today.
When the Tigers take the field this afternoon, it will be their first game in exactly a week. On Thursday of last week, Cleburne County improved to 2-0 in Class 4A, Area 10 with a 4-3 win at home over Munford.
Munford got a run in the top of the first off Watson. Cleburne County took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the first. With one out, Austin Harler doubled and Padgett doubled to put Tigers on second and third. Tyler Berry’s sacrifice fly got Harler home and Cole Corkren’s two out single scored Padgett.
Cleburne County added a run in the home half of the third. With two down, Ross Price walked and stole second base to get himself in scoring position. Matthew Shortt reached on a two-base error in the outfield and Price scored.
Another Tiger run in the fourth made it 4-1. With one out, Anderson Jacks walked. Harler’s sacrifice bunt pushed Jacks to second and Padgett delivered a two-out RBI double.
Watson was the winning pitcher, leaving with two away in the fifth inning. Padgett got the last out of the fifth then finished the final two innings for a save.
Watson allowed two runs, both earned, on five hits and three walks. He struck out three. Padgett gave up a hit, a walk and an unearned run in the seventh when the Tigers made two errors. He fanned two.
“I was just tickled that we pitched well. We put the bat on the ball well, had a lot of good approaches,” Lee said Wednesday.
“Defensively, we were error free until that last inning. … It was a good win for us because we played a lot of clean innings and got some key hits.”