FDA, Lowndes split doubleheader
Fort Dale played host to northern rival Lowndes Academy in a doubleheader last Friday, and neither game was decided until the last inning.
Down 1-0 in the second inning, Hunter Armstrong laced a single to right field to score Paul Whigham from second base, but Lowndes came back to score runs in the third and fourth innings.
Lowndes loaded the bases in the sixth inning but didn’t get any runs out of it, in part due to clutch pitching from Jonathan Scott, who came in to get the last few outs.
The Eagles didn’t come around until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Scott and Whigham scored on a two-out double by Kendall Gibson to the left field gap to cut the lead to 4-3.
Eli Blackmon came in to pinch run, and he scored after a Lowndes error on a hit by Jeffrey Stead.
“It took us five or six innings to realize that we had to show up,” said head coach Josh Beverly. “We didn’t quit, and I’m proud of that.”
Despite the comeback, the Eagles still had some work to do.
Lowndes put another run on the board in the top of the seventh, helped out by Fort Dale errors.
In the bottom half of the inning, Aaron Callen knocked in Todd Burkett on a single to left field to tie the game at five each.
That set the stage for Dustin Till at the plate.
Till, who had several errors in the field for the Eagles, came through with a single to left field to score pinch-runner Steven Lee and win the game.
“He made the best of the opportunity,” Beverly said. “It’s all in how you handle it.”
The second game didn’t go quite as well for the Eagles.
Fort Dale started off hot, with runs from Burkett, Hunter Smith, Callen and Till in the first inning, and Callen scored again in the second inning to put FDA up 5-0.
Till scored in the fourth inning, and the Fort Dale lead was 6-1.
Because it was the late game of a double-header, the two teams only played five innings.
In the top of the fifth, Lowndes scored five runs to go ahead 7-6, and the Eagles couldn’t respond in the bottom of the inning.
“We just didn’t make routine plays to make outs,” Beverly said. “Our catching and throwing just wasn’t there. We lost our intensity, but we’ll learn from it.”
That loss was the Eagles’ first of the season.
Before the showdown with Lowndes, the Eagles claimed big wins over Escambia and Lee-Scott.
FDA topped Escambia 4-0 on RBIs by Till, Callen, Burkett and Daniel Nolan, while Till added seven strikeouts from the mound.
But perhaps the biggest win was a 3-1 victory over Lee-Scott.
The Eagles were led by two RBIs from Gibson and nine strikeouts from Burkett.
“That was a huge win for us,” Beverly said. “Todd got the job done for us, and we’ve got confidence to know that we can play with the better teams in our region.”