By Gene Phelps
NEW ALBANY New Albany’s on its way to the semifinals of the Division 1-3A Tournament with a little help from two candy bars.
Junior pitcher Josh Foreman, who battled a stomach virus earlier in the week, nibbled on the candy and the results were sweet for the Bulldogs, who defeated Amory 9-5 Tuesday in an opening round game at the New Albany Sportsplex.
The Bulldogs (20-11) play at Saltillo in a 7 p.m. semifinal game Thursday. The loss eliminated Amory (14-12).
“He (Foreman) had the touch of some bug the last three days and hasn’t been able to keep anything down,” New Albany coach Buddy Hall said. “We needed him to go tonight. That’s the first time he’s thrown in two weeks. He had been out with a pulled hamstring.”
Foreman (8-2) went the distance, striking out three, walking three and scattering eight hits.
“He was around the plate,” Hall said. “When he’s on the mound our guys are confident. We wanted to stay with him as long as we could.”
And Foreman was doing everything he could to stay in the game.
“I got a shot and took some anti-nausea pills before the game,” he said. “I felt tired before the game because I hadn’t been able to eat anything. I ate a Snickers before the game and I drank as much water as I could between innings. In the third inning I ate another candy bar, a Twix, and it gave me some extra energy.”
Foreman struggled in the first inning, giving up three runs on three hits. Eric Carpenter had a two-run single and Brent Miley had an RBI single for the Panthers. Two errors also contributed to Amory’s 3-0 lead.
“That’s every game (laugh),” Foreman said, when asked about his sluggish start. “I usually don’t get loose until the third inning.”
New Albany rallied to go ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the second, scoring all of its runs with two outs. Pat Penson had a two-run double and John Moffitt and Ryan Criddle had an RBI single apiece.
Amory tied the score at 4-4 in the third on Carpenter’s RBI single.
The Bulldogs went ahead to stay in the fourth inning with three unearned runs. Eli Whitehead had an RBI single and New Albany added runs on a passed ball and a throwing error.
“We made 61 errors this year, counting tonight’s game,” Amory coach Vince McLemore said. “When you don’t have the defense to back up the pitching and hitting you’re in trouble.”
Criddle added an RBI double for New Albany in the fifth and Justin Hollis singled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth for the Bulldogs.
Amory scored a run in the seventh and loaded the bases before Foreman recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
NEW ALBANY 9, AMORY 5
Amory 301 000 1 5 8 4
New Albany 040 311 x 9 9 3
WP – Josh Foreman (8-2). LP – Brad Hamilton. Multiple hits – (NA) Ryan Criddle 2, Justin Hollis 2, (A) Eric Carpenter 3, Brent Miley 2. 2B (NA) Pat Penson, Joel Ward, Criddle. Records: New Albany 20-11, Amory 14-12.
Notes: New Albany plays Saltillo at 7 p.m. Thursday in the 1-3A tournament semifinals at Saltillo. In the regular season, Saltillo beat New Albany 7-2 at New Albany.