Eagles sweep Bessemer, advance to face Lee-Scott
Fort Dale Academy head coach Josh Beverly’s message to his team this week had been simple.
“I’ve been telling my guys that no one expects them to win,” he said.
That’s because nearly everyone expects Lee-Scott Academy to win the best-of-three series between the two teams.
After all, the Warriors are one of the favorites to win the AISA Class AAA crown.
“They’re 24-5 and one of probably the top three teams in the state,” Beverly said. “We’re not expected to win by many people, but we expect to win.”
Beverly said for the Eagles to pull off the upset, they will need to execute at the plate, on the mound and in the field.
“We’re going to have to be really good in all three phases,” he said. “I think our pitching is good enough to win, but we aren’t going to overpower anyone, so we have to hit our spots and keep the ball in the park and then catch it, and we have to get those guys some runs.”
That approach paid off for the Eagles in their first-round series against Bessemer Saturday.
The Eagles’ blasted their way to a 15-4 win in Game 1, and played small ball to earn a 4-3 win in Game 2.
“We hit the ball really well in that first game, and not quite as well in the second game, but we were able to do some things to manufacture the runs we needed,” Beverly said. “The biggest thing is we played really good defense.”
In Game 1, Fort Dale’s Ryan Burkett was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Chase Whiddon was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Dylan Jones had three hits and a RBI, and James Burkett had two hits and drove in a run.
Ryan Burkett also earned the win on the mound. He fanned five Bessemer batters in six innings of work.
In the second game, Whiddon turned in a 2-for-2 effort that included an RBI.
Chip Taylor threw two scoreless innings to earn the win.
Fort Dale (15-10) and Lee-Scott will square off at 2 p.m. Thursday in Auburn. Game 2 will follow with the third game slated for Friday at 3:30 p.m. if necessary.