Cleburne County Sports
Cleburne County Baseball
Cleburne County was able to play three baseball games over two days at the “Spring Experience” at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park. The Tigers defeated Ohatchee 7-5 on March 30 then split two games Friday before taking a few days off for spring break. Cleburne County defeated Weaver 11-4 then lost to Auburn 5-1 on Friday.
Against Ohatchee, the Tigers recorded 12 hits, all singles. Brock Swafford was 3-for-4 and knocked in three runs. Noah Gaines, Cade Smith and Mack Humphries each had two hits. Humphries and Smith scored two runs apiece and Gaines had two RBIs. Trevor Houston, Damain Benefield and Nick Dunston got one hit apiece. Dunston added an RBI. Devin Hicks walked twice, scored one run and had one RBI.
Avery Gentry started for Cleburne County and was the winning pitcher. He allowed three runs, one earned, on two hits and two walks. Swafford pitched three innings of one-hit ball in relief. He was charged with two runs, one earned, walked two and had four strikeouts.
Reese Morrison was the winning pitcher in the game with Weaver. He worked 4 2/3 innings in relief, fanned three and gave up one earned run on two hits and two walks. Todd Weston started the game and had three strikeouts. Houston finished the seventh inning and struck out two.
Swafford and Benefield each went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Benefield’s hits included a home run and a double. He drove in four runs. Swafford had a double and three RBIs. Gaines was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs. Smith singled twice and scored once. Jordan Brown and Will Morrow each stroked a base hit and drove in a run. Morrow also scored once. Dunston doubled and scored one run. Houston singled and scored once. Humphries scored once.
Benefield pitched the first five innings for Cleburne County against Class 7A Auburn. He gave up just three earned runs on five hits and four walks while recording four strikeouts. Brown worked two scoreless innings to finish the contest and had two strikeouts. He surrendered two hits and walked one.
Auburn had begun its day with a 20-0 win over 7A Gadsden City. The following day, Auburn beat White Plains 12-2 and Etowah 11-6.
Trailing 5-0, Cleburne County scored when Gaines doubled to open the sixth inning and came home on a two-out triple by Brown. Benefield and Gaines each finished with a double and a single. Smith also doubled in two at-bats. Morrow and Houston had a base hit apiece.
Ranburne’s Class 2A, Area 10 baseball series with Fayetteville didn’t turn out the way the Bulldogs had hoped. When the home-and-home series finally got started at Fayetteville on March 29, the Wolves won 11-2. Ranburne scored twice in the second inning and took a 2-1 lead. Ben Jackson singled to drive in Hayden Simmons and Caleb Yakely. Fayetteville regained the lead with two runs in the third inning then scored four times in the fourth, twice in the fifth and twice in the sixth.
The Bulldogs had eight hits, all singles. Jackson was 3-for-3 on the day. Simmons, Yakely, Pete McCormick, Brock Young and Jake Burson each had one hit. Young started for Ranburne. Four of the seven runs scored against him were earned. He struck out six, walked four and allowed five hits in 3 2/3 innings. Jackson Pollard and McCormick followed Young. McCormick was charged with four runs in 1 2/3 innings.
The teams played a doubleheader at Ranburne on Friday. Fayetteville won the opener, and the series, 7-3. All three runs for the Bulldogs came in the sixth inning. Caleb Hill double to open the inning then Burson singled and Young was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Simmons got an RBI the hard way when he was hit by a pitch, forcing Hill home. Burson scored when McCormick walked and a free pass to Lee Jackson sent Young home.
Head baseball coach Stephen Bailey said Lee Jackson “pitched really well” in throwing a complete game on just 89 pitches. He fanned two and walked one.
Burson was 2-for-4. Hill’s double was the lone extra-base hit for Ranburne. Young and Eli Davenport each had one single.
The second game of the doubleheader went to Fayetteville 10-0. Brad Walker had the only hit for the Bulldogs.
Ranburne is scheduled to host Spring Garden on Friday. Bailey said Wednesday that the Panthers have an area game set for today and if it has to be delayed because of poor field conditions it will be pushed back to Friday. Ranburne has a game scheduled against Randolph County at Wedowee on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Bulldogs begin their final Area 10 series against Vincent at home on Monday.
Cleburne County softball
Cleburne County’s scheduled softball game at Horseshoe Bend, its final game before taking off a few days for spring break, was rained out on March 30. Tigers’ head coach Ron Ervin said Tuesday evening that the game had been rescheduled for April 19.
The Tigers will return to action this weekend when they play in the Pleasant Valley round-robin. Cleburne County opens Friday with a game against Oxford at 5 p.m. Spring Garden and Cleburne County tangle at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Host school Pleasant Valley will be the opponent for the Tigers at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Tigers finish the round-robin portion of the day against Weaver at 3 p.m. The championship game and a consolation game will begin at 6 p.m.
Cleburne County plays at Ranburne on Monday then entertains Class 5A, Area 10 foe Lincoln on Tuesday.