By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
Jabrice Hooks had a strong arm and a hot bat, but it wasn’t enough for Escambia County High’s Blue Devils, who were unable to hold a lead and fell by a 17-10 score to LeFlore High.
Hooks struck out seven as ECHS’s starting pitcher and added a triple and a homer to lead the offense in the April 1 setback.
“We have to learn how to finish a game,” head coach Kasuan Bullard said. “We started out very strong but fell off as the innings went by. We have to learn to keep calm and defend leads.”
The Blue Devils started the game strong and held a 5-1 lead as the fifth inning started. Unfortunately, they couldn’t retain the lead.
Hooks tripled in the first inning to help jumpstart things for the Blue Devils, but LeFlore got things going in the second and scored a run.
The Blue Devils answered back with four runs in the third inning, and it was Hooks who ignited the rally. With Delarrion Poole and Josh Hadley on base after each singled, Hooks launched a four-bagger to widen the Devils’ lead.
The breathing room evaporated during the sixth inning, and the Rattlers went on to score 12 runs between the sixth and eighth innings.
Deavontae Johnson and Isaiah Finney scored twice for ECHS, while T’Ondrie Forney scored once and drove in a run, and Charles Lambert drove in a run on a flyball.
But it was Hooks who stole the show.
“Hooks is an awesome kid,” Bullard said. “He is a ballplayer and doesn’t give up when things get tough. He helped get us started during the game and pushed the momentum each time that he took the mound or stepped up to bat.”
Bullard said that even though the game was lost, the team is improving and getting better with each game.
The Blue Devils will host a double-header against Williamson High School this Wednesday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m.