By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
The J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs put up a strong performance against Leroy High School, the team that JUB saw in the Elite 8 quarterfinals last season, at home on February 23.
The Bulldogs went into the two-game set knowing what they had to do to take some revenge on a good team who played well against them last season.
“After a slow start last week against Red Level, the boys were ready to get back on the field and compete,” head coach Justin Mixon said. “We knew that we had to play a much better game than them but more importantly, we knew that we had to take care of ourselves and not play based on who the opponent is.”
Landon Mura got the start on the mound for the Bulldogs in the first game of the double-header on Saturday. Mura struck out 11 in 6-2/3 innings in a strong outing against Leroy, giving up only 2 runs in 2 hits and an error.
Along with an outstanding mound start, he went 2-for-4 at bat, producing a single and a double.
Eighth-grader Josh Burkett took over the pitching duties for Mura at the end of the game, recording the last out and recording the save.
“I was proud of Burkett,” Mixon said. “To be just an eighth-grader, he stepped up huge for us on Saturday.”
Tucker Spence walked and scored a run for the Bulldogs. Damon Rolin had a single, was hit by a pitch and scored a run; Peyton Wilkins had a single, RBI and scored a run; Talan Daughtry singled and walked, and Will Brown had two hits and drove in two runs.
The Bulldogs fell 5-3 in the second game of the double-header, with Burkett starting on the mound for the Bulldogs. The youngster struck out 6 in 4 innings, giving up no runs, 1 hit and 1 walk.
He was replaced on the mound by Rolin, who had a rough outing. Rolin issued four walks in 1-1/3 innings, but four errors made the walks costlier.
Rolin was replaced by Spence, who pitched 1-2/3 scoreless innings with a strikeout.
“There is still a lot of cleanup to do on the mound and in the field, but we as coaches were very pleased with the way the boys competed,” Mixon said. “Finding all the right pieces is still a work in progress, but the more we can compete together and grow, the better we will become as a team.”
Spence had a single and a walk and scored a run in the second contest. Mura had a single and two walks, scored a run and drove in a run; Wilkins singled and scored a run; Daughtry had a single and 2 RBI, and Burkett added a single.
JUB was to have played Flomaton on February 26.