FDA downs Cougars, earns home playoff series

Published 2:14 pm Friday, April 4, 2014

Fort Dale Academy's James Burkett dives back into first base during the Eagles' 6-4 win over Escambia Academy Thursday. (Advocate Staff/Andy Brown)

Fort Dale Academy’s James Burkett dives back into first base during the Eagles’ 6-4 win over Escambia Academy Thursday. (Advocate Staff/Andy Brown)

Fort Dale Academy scored a 6-4 win over Escambia Academy Thursday, and with it a home playoff series.

It will mark the first time Fort Dale has hosted a playoff series since 2005, and the first time the program has hosted a playoff series at its on-campus facility.

The previous playoff series was played at Greenville’s Beeland Park.

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“It means a great deal to us because we play so well at home,” said FDA head coach Josh Beverly. “We will have a great crowd and it’s a great thing for our program to host a series.”

The Eagles rallied from a 2-0 deficit Thursday to notch their 15th win of the season.

After three-up-three-down first inning, Fort Dale erupted for four runs in the bottom of the second inning.

James Burkett started the rally by drawing a one-out walk.

He then scored on an RBI single by Austin Vickery, who along with Blake Harris, would score on a single to center field by Kenny Harden, Jr.

Brady Clark also scored in the inning to give Fort Dale a 4-2 lead.

Despite plating four runs in the inning, Beverly said he still feels like his team isn’t quite at sync at the plate.

“We pitched pretty well and played pretty decent defense, but still aren’t hitting the baseball,” Beverly said. “We hung in there and played hard and got a tough region win. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how it happens as long you get the win.”

Vickery finished the game with three RBIs on the strength of a 2-for-3 effort at the plate.

Harden was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. James Burkett, Chip Taylor and Harris each had a hit for the Eagles.

Vickery earned the win in relief of starting pitcher Ryan Burkett. Vickery tossed two scoreless innings and allowed just two hits.

Fort Dale will travel to Cecil Saturday to take on Macon-East Montgomery Academy. First pitch is scheduled for noon. The Eagles will then hit the road once again Monday for a showdown with Monroe Academy. First pitch is slated for 5:30 p.m.