Billingsley wins first area game of season over Verbena

Published 11:44 am Friday, March 17, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Billingsley High School won its opening AHSAA Class 1A Area 6 game of the season 8-2 over Verbena High School on March 16. The Bears jumped out to a 5-2 lead and pushed the game out of reach with a burst of offense in the sixth inning. Eight of the nine Billingsley batters had a hit in the game.

After the opening run of the game, Nathan Gilmore knocked an RBI single to center field to score the second run for the Bears. Eli Manning hit an RBI double to score the third run of the opening inning for Billingsley, and they never looked back.

“I thought they played well today,” Billingsley coach Jeffery Alexander said. “From pitching to hitting, defensively. This is a team sport, and it takes nine guys on the field, but it also takes the guys in the dugout keeping them up.”

Verbena got two runs back in the second inning with an RBI double by Lance Edwards, followed by an RBI single by Johnathan Marino to make it 3-2. Marino was 4-for-4 with four singles, and Alan Martinez was 3-for-4 to lead the Red Devils. Martinez and Marino combined for seven of Verbena’s nine hits in the game.

Billingsley’s Kyle Boice knocked an RBI single to score a run in the second. Boice was 2-for-3. Mason Truesdale added another Bears’ run with an RBI single in the third inning to make it 5-2.

Truesdale was also the starting pitcher, and he did not allow another Verbena run after the third inning. Truesdale threw six innings and gave up nine hits, two runs and walked three batters while striking out seven.

“(Truesdale) kind of struggled getting the ball up in the zone when we wanted him to,” Alexander said. “But, when he really focused and got two strikes, he was able to finish some guys off. It was very timely.”

The scoreboard was empty until Billingsley put together a three-run sixth inning with Landon Jones’ RBI single and Gilmore’s RBI double to make it 8-2. Jones and Gilmore both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

“You have to have a short memory in baseball, and they played better than us today,” Verbena coach Allen Brothers said. “We will see them later in the year, and we will be ready to rock. We were not having fun today, and when our team is having fun, we play well.”

Jones closed the game, working the last inning relieving Truesdale. The win gave Billingsley its ninth win of the year out of 10 games. The Bears have yet to have a losing day this season with their only loss coming in a doubleheader against Dallas County High School on March 3 which the Bears split.

“We are taking it one day at a time and one game at a time,” Alexander said. “(We talk about) being behind your brothers, and we are enjoying the moment.”

Billingsley will stay in Area 6 play taking on Autaugaville High School on March 28 in its next game. Verbena will continue Area 6 play as well hosting Maplesville High School on March 18.