Jess Smith’s first taste of the Scottsboro-North Jackson baseball rivalry was a sweet one.
Scottsboro’s first-year head coach saw his team post five runs in the first two innings on the way to a 7-4 win over the host Chiefs Friday night at Stevenson Park.
“It was anybody’s ball game till right there at the end,” Smith said. “I was proud of our guys the way they stayed in the game and competed through all seven innings.”
The win was Scottsboro’s sixth straight in the rivalry series. The teams are scheduled to meet again, this time at SHS, on Thursday.
Ethan Wininger went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs for Scottsboro, tying a school-record with five hits. He shares that record with Jamey Cooper (1994) and Tanner Potterfield (2016).
Scottsboro also got two hits and one walk from Cam Matthews, two hits and two runs scored from Collin Perkins, one hit and one RBI from Kyle Murphy and three walks and one RBI from Dalton Wood.
Reliever Tanner Barclay pitched four innings and got the win for the Wildcats, allowing one run on one hit while recording eight strikeouts. Brandon Brewer got the save after getting the final out of the game.
Brandon Poole had one hit and one RBI for North Jackson while Macklin Guess, Landon Barnes, Carson Smith and Andrew Darnell had one hit each.
Scottsboro took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Wininger singled to start the game and later scored on Wood’s RBI walk. In the second, Wininger’s RBI double plated Will Jones (reached on an error), Perkins (single) scored on a North Jackson error, Wininger stole home on Murphy’s swipe of second base and Murphy scored on Sam Bryant’s RBI sacrifice fly to give Scottsboro a 5-0 lead.
North Jackson answered with two runs in the bottom of the second when Brady Cunningham scored on Ray-Ray Sanders’ RBI groundout and Carter Gass scored on a wild pitch before pulling within 5-3 in the third when Matt Adams scored on a Scottsboro error. But Barclay entered after that and retired 10 of North Jackson’s next 11 batters.
“Tanner came in and did exactly what we asked him to do,” Smith said. “He shut the door on them and gave us an opportunity to kind of extend the game and get some opportunities later in the game.”
The score remained 5-3 until the top of seventh when Collin Perkins reached on a one-out single, stole second base and went to third on a North Jackson error before scoring on Winger’s RBI single. Wininger then stole second and reached third on a North Jackson throwing error and scored on a passed ball.
“I thought we did a good job of executing early, then did a good job of staying in the game and getting those big runs late,” Smith said. We did really well on the base paths that inning to put ourselves in a good position. We executed a couple of steals and got some big-time hits. It was big for us to secure some runs late.”
North Jackson got a run back in bottom of the seventh when Darnell scored on Poole’s RBI sacrifice fly. After North Jackson’s Jody Moore was hit by a pitch, Brewer came on in relief of Barclay and got a game-ending groundout to seal the win for the Wildcats.