It wasn’t the way the Jacksonville High’s baseball team wanted the third round of the playoffs to go. An Eagle team that has fought back, that had been so spectacular in the playoffs up to this point, gave it all they had but in the end it wasn’t enough as Haleyville (25-14) brought the Eagles’ season to an end with a 6-5, 10-3 sweep.
Down 5-2 in the seventh inning of game one, the Eagles (18-14) in Jacksonville fashion battled back to tie up the game 5-5.
The Eagles started out the inning by loading the bases with singles by Sid Thurmond and Jackson Bell and a walk was given to Chris Elias. A fielder’s choice by Payton Sims scored Thurmond. The Eagles tied it up on a double by Lavontae LaCount.
In the bottom half of the inning with two outs Haleyville’s Conner Kiser hit a single and stole second to get into scoring position. Brady Sherrill, who was a hitting machine in the double-header with five hits and four RBI, hit a double to score Kiser for the 6-5 win.
Haleyville scored first in the game in the first inning but the Eagles tied it up in the top of the second when Tyler Carter hit a single to score BJ Murphy.
Jacksonville went up in the top of the third on a solo homerun by Chris Elias for a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth Haleyville took the lead when Hunter Hood hit a single to score Bennett Richards and tie the game. Ross Putnam, who had reached on a single, put his team up by one when he stole home.
Jacksonville had their chances in the top of the sixth but left the bases loaded.
In the bottom half of the sixth Haleyville added two more insurance runs on three singles and went up 5-2.
Jacksonville wasn’t about to go down without a fight. Sid Thurmond and Jackson Bell led off the inning with singles. Elias drew a walk to load the bases. Payton Sims hit into a fielder’s choice scoring Thurmond and the Eagles had cut the lead to 5-3. LaCount hit a double scoring Bell and Max Curry running for Elias to tie up the game at 5-5.
The excitement for the Jacksonville fans was dampened when Sherrill hit in the winning run.
Elias went 2-for-2 with a homerun and RBI, Sims 2-for-4 with a RBI, LaCount had a double and two RBI, and Thurmond, Bell, Murphy, Waugh and Carter all hit safely in the game.
In game two Haleyville got on the board first in the top of the second when Sherrill hit a triple to score Kiser.
The Eagles bounced back in the bottom half of the inning with two runs of their own sparked by a double by Chance Marbut and a triple by Sims.
Haleyville tied up the game in the top of the fifth at 2-2.
A disastrous sixth inning for Jacksonville gave Haleyville eight runs and a 10-2 lead. Jacksonville scored in the bottom half of the inning but that’s all they could muster taking a 10-3 loss.
For Jacksonville, Marbut and Carter both had doubles, Sims a triple and Elias, LaCount, Murphy and Waugh all had hits.
For seniors Jackson Bell, Chris Elias, Chance Marbut, Lavontae LaCount, Payton Sims and BJ Murphy the sting of the loss will eventually go away but the memories of a great season will last forever.