By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Hokes Bluff exploded for nine first-inning runs on the way to a 12-2 victory over West End on Monday in the Etowah County Schools baseball tournament on Monday (Apr. 15) in Sardis City.
The Eagles advanced to Tuesday’s championship game.
“We hit the ball early, and I am proud of our team for that,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Robertson. “West End starter (Caleb) Mayo is a good pitcher, but we were able to get to him early.”
The Eagles’ early outburst was highlighted by a towering two-run home run by Brad Robertson in his second at-bat of the inning.
Robertson led off the bottom of the first and was hit by a pitch. Chase Beggs then reached base on an error and Braydon Hawk followed with an RBI double.
After Dylan McKee drove in two runs with a single, Chance Ford reached base on a fielder’s choice. Tanner Shields doubled and Seth Pollard drove in two runs with a single. Jake Ponder walked and Stephen McDonald singled in runs No. 6 and 7. Robertson then followed with his homer to left centerfield to make it a 9-0 lead.
West End managed two runs in the top of the third inning off Eagle starter Tanner Shields. Hunter Grant walked and Caleb Mayo hit into a fielder’s choice. Rhett Lister walked, and both runners advanced on a passed ball. Mayo and Lister then scored on Ryan Mashburn’s single to draw within 9-2.
Hokes Bluff added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Shields doubled and scored on a Seth Pollard single. Jake Ponder singled and Stephen McDonald drove in Pollard to give the Eagles an 11-2 lead after four innings.
Hokes Bluff ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth inning when Beggs singled and Hawk reached on an error. McKee then ended the game with an RBI single.
For Hokes Bluff, Pollard went 2-for-3 with four RBI, while Shields and McDonald each went 2-for-3.
Mayo, Lister, Mashburn, Levi Weems and Tyler Browning each had a hit for the Patriots.