Good Hope, Hanceville go combined 2-1 in day 1 of Falkville Baseball Invitational


FALKVILLE– Good Hope and Hanceville took part in the first Falkville Baseball Invitational, looking to build some momentum before going back to regular season play.

Falkville 5, Good Hope 1
Good Hope's defense really hurt them in their opening game against Falkville, committing five errors, and the Raiders were held to just four hits by starter Alex Fowler as Falkville ran away with the win.

Good Hope got the first run of the game in the top of the third. Houston White hit a two-out double to left field, then Gage Henke drove him in with a bloop RBI single in right field. Falkville came back in their half. Fowler led off the inning with a single to center field, then Jackson Nichols reached on an infield single. The courtesy runner for Nichols, Mikell Elliott,  stole second and went to third on a bad pickoff throw by Zach Isbell. Jacob Holladay tied the game at one with an RBI groundout. 

Nichols led off the bottom of the fifth with a double over the head of shortstop Matt Hancock. Holladay hit a ground ball back to Isbell, who threw to Preston Bagwell at first to get him out, and Bagwell tried to get Nichols at third, but he threw it away, allowing Falkville to score, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead when the inning ended.

Falkville got some more help from the Good Hope defense in their next at-bats. Austin Smith led off the inning with a bloop single into center field. He moved to second on a fielding error by Bagwell and to third on a wild pitch. Braden Burnett hit a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to 3-1, then the Blue Devils scored two more runs on consecutive Raider errors, to put the final score at 5-1.

Fowler allowed just four hits and one run, walked two and struck out eight in a complete game win. He added two hits and also scored a run. Nichols added two hits and a run scored as well. Burnett and Holladay each added an RBI. Nick Greenfield, Smith and Burnett each scored a run for Falkville, who improved to 5-9 on the season. They will be back in action tomorrow morning at 10 against Hanceville.

Isbell went five-and-a-third innings, allowing six hits and five runs, only one run was earned, walking three and striking out three. Matt Hancock did not allow a base runner in his two-thirds inning of work. Henke had a hit and an RBI. Warren Creel, White (run scored), and Deven Gowens had the other hits for Good Hope. 

Good Hope 14, Cleveland 1 
In their second game of the day, this time against Cleveland, the Raiders finished with only three hits, but drew a boatload of walks, and Gowens was masterful on the mound, allowing just one hit through five innings. The Raiders took care of business easily.

Austin Eakes reached on a one-out bunt single in the top of the first. An out later, Creel reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, who threw it badly over the head of first baseman Hunter Green, and it sailed out of play; Creel went to second. That allowed Eakes to score to put Good Hope on top, 1-0. A pair of walks later, White hit a fly ball to center fielder Tyler Armstrong, who dropped it, allowing Creel and Gowens to score, but Malachi Holt got thrown out at third on a questionable play for the third out. 

A one-out walk, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single plated Cleveland's first and only run of the game. Consecutive walks by Hancock and Creel to lead off the third had Good Hope looking to break the game wide open. Gowens ripped an RBI double to right-center to increase the Raider lead to 4-1, and after a White walk to load the bases, Isbell reached on an error that brought home a run, Bagwell got hit by the pitch and Henke drew another walk to push the lead to 7-1 after three. 

Good Hope drew seven straight walks to open up the top of the fifth, plus Creel added a sacrifice fly, and Holt lined a two-run double to left-center to put the final score at 14-1.

Gowens allowed just one hit and one run, walking two and striking out two in a complete game win for Good Hope. Every batter drew at least one walk in the game. Eakes (two RBIs), Gowens (RBI) and Holt (two RBIs) had the only hits in the game. Bagwell and Henke had two RBIs. Hancock and Creel each had an RBI. They will play Hanceville tomorrow at noon.

Five Cleveland pitchers walked a combined 15 Good Hope batters. They will play tomorrow afternoon against Sumiton Christian.

Hanceville 16, Cleveland 1
Hanceville got their offense rolling early and they did not let up, routing Cleveland 16-1.

Branden Hurst led off with a double to right-center, and Alex Campbell lined a double down the left field line, bringing home Hurst, to put Hanceville on the scoreboard in the first. After an Isaac Holmes infield single and an out later, Gaiven Cruce lined a two-run single to right-center to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. A leadoff single by Cleveland had them looking to get their offense going, and Green followed it up with a one-out double to deep left to put the Panthers on the scoreboard. 

Hanceville added three more runs in the second. A two-out walk by Hurst had them looking to break the game open early. After a Campbell single, Holmes hit a two-run single to right field. Later on in the inning, Cruce lined an RBI single past the second baseman, to increase the lead to 6-1. They added two more runs in the fourth on a Dalton Rice two-run double down the left field line, and eight more in the fifth on a plethora of walks and a hit by pitch to make it a 16-1 game, which was the final after five.

Hurst went the distance, allowing just five hits and one run, walking one and striking out four. He walked three times and had a hit. Almost every Hanceville player drew at least one walk in the game. Cruce (three RBIs), Campbell (RBI), Rice (three RBIs) and Holmes (three RBIs) had a combined eight hits and a combined 10 RBIs. Matthew Cornelius, T.J. Kubia, Allen Huckaby, Josh Stanley and two others each had an RBI for Hanceville, who improved to 8-6 on the season. They will take on Good Hope tomorrow at noon.

Green and two other relievers combined to walk 13 batters in the game. Green had the only RBI in the game for Cleveland, who fell to 11-7 on the season. They will play Sumiton Christian at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

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