By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
J.U. Blacksher’s combination of dominating pitching, steady defense and precision hitting failed to materialize during an April 19 doubleheader sweep by Leroy High in the AHSAA playoffs.
The hopes of a state championship also disappeared as the Bulldogs lost to the Bears by scores of 5-4 and 4-1.
“Unfortunately, the results didn’t go our way,” head coach Justin Mixon said. “Each and every player got better this season, and I am so proud of this team.”
The Bulldogs got things started early in the first-inning of Game 1 of the double-header, taking advantage of a Leroy error and putting up an early run, which came on Landon Mura’s groundout.
Mura, who also started on the mound for the Bulldogs, pitching five innings and struck out 7 batters.
Damon Rolin hit a single and scored a run for JUB in that contest; Talan Daughtry drove in a run; Mura hit a triple, drove in a run and scored once, and Peyton Wilkins was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
Despite the effort, the Bulldogs fell just short of the first-game win.
Blacksher put together a decent plate performance during Game 2 of the series, but defensive miscues proved the difference.
Wilkins took the pitching loss in Game 2. He surrendered three runs on one hit over three-and-a-third innings.
Spence had a double in the season finale, while Michael Redditt doubled; Wilkins was hit by a pitch and drove in a run. Dawson Hollinger and Daughtry both walked once, and Mura walked once and scored on a single.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were not able to generate a win and their season was halted by the Bears.
The loss marked the last game in a JUB uniform for four Bulldog seniors.
“We have four seniors on this team, and each one of them can be proud of the effort that they put forth this season and in their careers as a Bulldog,” Mixon said.
Hollinger, Brady Ikner, Will Brown and Mura have officially closed out an important chapter in their lives as they left the field after the loss to Leroy. Mura will continue his baseball career at Coastal Alabama-North upon graduation next month.
“This a great group of guys who grew this year as players and young men,” said Mixon. “I hope that each of them takes something from this season and from the game that will help them along the way in their future endeavors. They can always be proud to be a Bulldog.”