The Arab Junior High baseball team wraps up its season this week with four games in the Sylvania Tournament.
The Knights, 17-3 entering the week, played Section and Geraldine on Tuesday evening, then finish the season today with games against North Jackson at 4:30 p.m. and Sylvania at 6 p.m.
The games wrap up a busy March for the Junior Knights.
• On Friday, March 26, Arab split a doubleheader at Fort Payne, winning the nighcap 9-0 after losing the opener 3-1.
In that first game, Evan Brazelton went 1-for-3 with a double. Drew Puccio went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and one run scored. Noah Mann and Dylan Kirkland each had singles.
Wyatt Lamar went three innings, allowing five hits and one run while striking out five. Luke Martin struck out two in one inning of hitless relief work.
“Hats off to Fort Payne,” said Arab coach Blake Beam. “We faced a good arm and struggled to get runs in. We couldn’t get a leadoff guy on and it is tough to get around the bases when there is already one or two outs recorded.
“We committed a few errors that turned out to be the difference in the game.”
The second game was different.
Landon Ertl pitched a complete game (five innings), allowing just one hit and a walk in the shutout. He had five strikeouts.
Luke Hudson went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs. He also scored two runs.
Brazelton drew a walk and scored a run. Puccio went 1-for-1 with one walk and two runs scored. Lamar was 2-for-2 with a walk, a double and an RBI.
Martin and Jaxon Ivey each went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Kellen Reaves was 1-for-1 with an RBI.
“We got the offense going in the second game. It was good to have several contributors and guys like Jaxon Ivey break through and swing it like I know he can,” Beam said. “Kellen Reaves also had an RBI single in a pinch-hitting situation.”
• On Monday, March 22, Arab swept a doubleheader from West Point, 7-1 and 8-2.
“You are always worried coming off of a long break like we had during spring break,” Beam said. “Our kids played as if we had played all week during the break.
“Evan (Brazelton) pitched well and we played great defense behind him. Many contributors offensively and others with quality at-bats that were not in the stat line.”
In the first game, Brazelton went the distance (five innings), striking out seven and allowing two hits, a walk and one earned run. He was also 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored.
Puccio went 1-for-1 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Max Cooper had a triple and an RBI and one run scored. Hudson was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Kirkland had a single, an RBI, a walk and a run scored. Lamar went 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and run scored.
In the second game, Cooper pitched four innings, allowing three hits, five walks and two earned runs. He struck out five.
Brazelton went 3-for-3 with a doublem an RBI and three runs scored. Puccio went 2-for-3 with a double and an inside-the-park) home run. He had two RBIs.
Cooper had a single, a walk and two runs scored. Lamar had a double and a walk and knocked in three. Hudson had a single, scored a run and walk once. Martin went 1-for-3.
• On Saturday, March 13, the Knights swept a doubleheader against Buckhorn, winning by the scores of 5-4 and 4-0.
Brazelton got the win and also contributed mightily at the plate. He went five innings, gave up seven hits and four earned runs while striking out eight. At the plate, he was 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
“Evan Brazelton led the way on the mound and in the box for us,” Beam said. “This was a huge win for us. They hit it hard at the beginning. The first guy got on, on a hard hit ball to right field and the next batter took the first pitch deep to left for a two-run home run.
“We got out of that inning and came right back and answered with two runs in the bottom of the first. Drew Puccio led off with a double and then Evan Brazelton drove him in with a double.
“We gave up two runs in the top of the third, but found a way to get three runs across in the bottom half of the last inning to walk it off.
“This was the most complete game that we have played pitching, defensively and offensively. I was proud of our kids that they didn’t hang their heads when Buckhorn came out swinging. We found a way to answer and fought back for a quality win.”
Also in the first game, Puccio was 1-for-2 with a walk, a double and two runs scored. Mann went 1-for-2, Hudson had a double and drew two walks and Martin went 1-for-3 with one run scored.
Ertl and Martin combined on a one-hit shutout in the nightcap. Ertl went 3.3 innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out five. Martin went 1.6 and struck out three.
Puccio went 1-for-1 with a walk and a run scored. Jackson Cook went 1-for-2, Jackson Houston went 1-for-2 and scored a run. Hudson and Martin both went 1-for-1. Martin also drew a walk, knocked in a run and scored twice.