FDA earns region victory over Morgan Academy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2000

The Fort Dale Academy Eagles earned two wins this weekend including an important shutout area victory over Morgan Academy on Friday, 5-0.

Starting pitcher Marshall Watts led his team to the victory by throwing seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out seven Morgan Academy batters.

Fort Dale jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when leadoff batter Josh Smith punched a ball through for a basehit. Bill Cates followed with a well-placed grounder that allowed Smith to move over to second base. After a walk to Watts, the Morgan Academy pitcher threw one into the dirt that got by the catcher, allowing both runners to move up. With runners on second and third, Todd Nicholas came through with a deep sacrifice fly to rightfield that scored Smith for the first run of the ballgame.

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Good baserunning and a bad play led to FDA's next run in the second inning. Adam Robertson led off the inning with a single. He then proceeded to steal both second and third bases and

scored on an error by the Morgan Academy shortstop. Winters, who hit the hotshot that was misplayed by the opposition, also came around to score on a triple by Smith, giving FDA a 3-0 lead after two innings.

Morgan Academy helped the FDA cause more in the third inning as leadoff batter Watts reached on another error. He

later came around to score on a base hit by Nicholas.

With a 4-0 lead, FDA did not score again until the sixth when Winters led off with a base hit. Josh Till, who came in as a pitch runner, advanced to second on an error by the Morgan Academy leftfielder. Smith doubled, bringing in Till for the 5-0 lead.

Head coach Jim Brantley said getting leadoff runners on base was a key to the victory.

"If we can get our leadoff runners on then we should be able to score them if we do the things we are supposed to do. Watts did a great job for us on the mound and our hitters did what they needed to do. We did the little things right, we stole bases, hit sacrifices and those are the things you have to do to win," Brantley said.

On Saturday, the Eagles traveled to Escambia Academy and pulled out another win, this one in extra innings, 6-4.

Escambia began the scoring by taking a 1-0 lead in the first as a result of three FDA errors.

But, the Eagles answered in the second when Adam Robertson, who reached base by being hit by a pitch, scored on an RBI hit by Michael Hollyfield.

FDA took the lead in the third inning after Josh Smith led off with a base hit. Cates followed with another hit, putting runners on first and third bases. Watts' hit brought Smith home with a base hit, allowing Cates to move to second. Cates moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Nicholas, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead.

Escambia cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth. But, FDA made it a two-run game again in the seventh when Daniel Miller, who led off with a base hit and stole second, scored on consecutive wild pitches by the Escambia pitcher.

But, victory would not come easy as two walks and an error allowed the Escambia team to tie the game at four in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings.

In the ninth, Nicholas earned a leadoff walk and stole second base. He continued along the basepaths as he took third base on a wild pitch. Robertson reached base on a walk setting up a two-run double by Hollyfield, that would prove to be the game winner.

Nicholas was the winning pitcher in the game, pitching the final five innings. Winters started the game and pitched four innings.

Hollyfield led the team on offense going three for five.

Brantley said the Eagles did not play as well as they should have for the Saturday game, but that they did what they had to do to get the win.

"We came out flat and did not play very well. We have only played two games in which we did not play up to our potential and we were lucky that we came away with a win in this one," he said.

FDA's next game will be played at Beeland Park on Friday at 3:30 p.m. as they face Monroe Academy.