Arab's Luke Martin

Saturday’s Game 2 starting pitcher Luke Martin fires toward home plate as Evan Brazelton holds the Scottsboro runner at first base. Martin won Game 2. Brazelton won Game 1.

After a couple of weeks of ice and rain, the weather was so nice and sunny at Arab City Park on Saturday morning, it was hard not to think about Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

“It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame ... Let’s play two!”

Actually, Arab baseball teams played four, and won all of them (see high school roundup, page 2B).

To add flavor to the day, booster club volunteers in the parking lot were handing out Boston butts as part of a program fundraiser.

It truly was a beautiful day at the park for players, coaches and fans.

And it didn’t hurt that the home teams played well, from morning to night.

The Arab Junior High team got it started with an exciting 2-1 win over Scottsboro in the first game a doubleheader. Luke Hudson’s sacrifice fly to center scored Luke Martin with the game-ender in the bottom of the fifth, making starting pitcher Evan Brazelton a winner.

Brazelton struck out eight in five innings.

Arab also won the second game, 9-1, in a game stopped after four innings because of time limitations.

Martin and Landon Ertl combined on the mound to give up only one hit. Martin had three strikeouts and Ertl two). Drew Puccio had two hits and Max Cooper, Brazelton and Wyatt Lamar each had one.

“We played well,” head coach Blake Beam said afterward. “Our pitchers set the tone by pounding the strike zone and we played defense behind them.

“Drew Puccio continues to impress at shortstop and several others are improving each game.

“In the first game Scottsboro got a run to tie it in the top of the fifth. They are a good team and fought to get the run in, but our kids responded.

“Luke Martin led off the bottom of that inning with a hit by pitch which was huge to get the leadoff guy on. He was able to get to third on two passed balls and Luke Hudson drove him in with a sac fly to center.

“I was proud of the way we finished by closing a game out in walk-off fashion. We have a lot of work to do still, but these young men show up each day with a competitive mindset and continue to improve.”

The wins gave the Knights a 10-2 record. They extended that winning record to 12-2 with a pair of wins at Albertville on Tuesday by the scores of 5-2 and 9-0.

One of the two losses came last Thursday at home when Guntersville won 14-0 in the first game of a doubleheader. The Knights came back to win the second game 9-0.

In Tuesday’s first game against Albertville, Lamar got the win, going four innings with five hits and two earned runs allowed. He struck out two. Brazelton closed it out with three strikeouts in one inning.

Brazelton and Lamar each had a single and a double with one RBI and one run scored. Hudson had a single and run scored. Landon Strickland had a double, Puccio had a triple, RBI and one run scored. Cooper had a walk and a run scored.

Ertl took the win in the nightcap, going four inning with eight strikeouts, three hits, three walks and no earned runs allowed. Martin had two strikeouts in one inning of shutout relief.

Brazelton went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and two runs scored. Lamar was 2-for-3, with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Hudson was 2-for-3 with an RBI and one run scored.

Kellen Reaves had an RBI, Frank Clark had a hit, RBI and one run scored, Jackson Houston went 1-for-3, Jackson Cook was 1-for-1, with two walks and a run scored and Martin went 1-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored.

Ertl was 1-for1 with two walks and an RBI. Puccio was hit by a pitch and scored one run.

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