Photo: Etowah’s A.J. Taylor delivers a pitch during the Blue Devils’ 4-1 victory over Sardis in high school baseball last Tuesday (Feb. 27) in Attalla. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy
Sparked by solid pitching and timely hitting, Etowah grinded its way to a 4-1 victory over Sardis last Tuesday (Feb. 27) in Attalla.
Blue Devils starter A.J. Taylor kept the Lion lineup off balance with five innings of three-hit ball. In 69 pitches, allowed one unearned run and one walk.
Zach Jones retired the final six Sardis batters to close out the win.
“We had very good pitching tonight from Taylor, and Jones did a good job of closing the door,” said Etowah head coach Larry Foster. “We didn’t take advantage of a couple of opportunities to blow the game open, but we hit the ball when we needed to.”
Taylor was sharp from the start. After allowing a one-out single to Jake Ross in the top of the first inning, Taylor sent down 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. A one-out walk by Taylor Goosby in the third and Logan Gaskin’s leadoff single in the fourth was all the offense that the Lions could muster.
Meanwhile, Dylan Robinson singled and scored on an error in the bottom of the second, and David Rutledge doubled home Jarren Wright in the third with the eventual winning run.
Sardis (2-4) drew within 2-1 in the top of third on Dax Lee’s RBI base hit, but Blue Devils (2-1) regained some breathing room the following inning when Jones’ RBI sacrifice fly plated Wright.
Jones shut down the Lion offense the rest of the way, and Dalton Robinson singled in his brother Dylan for the final margin.
Rutledge went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Wright went 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored. Austin Young had a pair of hits.
Sardis head coach Kevin Vinson noted that his team must cut down on issuing base on balls.
“I thought we played a little better defensively than we did this past week, but we’ve got to cut down on the walks. We started a freshman tonight (Peyton Wehrwein)), and I thought he did a fantastic job being that it was only his second game to pitch at this level. I thought he did a heck of job with that kind of a lineup today.
“We’ve also got to execute better offensively. We have to have better approach at the plate, especially with two strikes. If we can clean up the little things and compete, we’ll be all right.”