Laduron, May sink the Pirates
Nick Laduron probably didn’t know any better.
Sure, he may be aware that West Alabama Prep’s baseball tradition includes 11 State Championships in 19 previous seasons.
What may elude him is that the Pickens Academy Pirates have some baseball tradition of their own.
Over the years, the DA-PA match-ups have been the stuff of legends.
While names like Buddy Large, Jimbo Patterson and Andy Phillips have battled over the years for the old Generals, former UWA stand-outs Terry Pearson and Neil Holliman, along with Kansas City Royals’ Scott Sullivan, have been their match for the Pirates.
Still, none of that stuff seemed to faze Laduron.
WAP senior Kevin May offered a simple excuse.
“You know, he’s only a sophomore.”
The sophomore pitcher allowed one run to the Pirates in the first inning, but then pitched five innings of scoreless baseball to give the Titans to a 4-2 win.
“He was solid,” stated WAP coach Walker Reynolds.
“Nick never let anything bother him on the mound.
He got into trouble a couple of times, but he managed to find his way through.”
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the third inning, Laduron got in his first real trouble.
With two outs, PA’s Martin Colvin reached base on a WAP error and Michael Ezelle got a hit.
Brandon Softon loaded the bases by drawing a walk.
After a couple of deep breaths, Laduron got Preston Grammer to ground to the first-baseman for the third out.
That scare seemed to energize the Titan’s offense, starting with Laduron.
Nick led off the bottom of the inning by drawing a walk.
May followed with a base-hit.
A solid base-hit by Chad Seale and a ground ball by Michael Bozeman scored Laduron and May, and the Titans held a 3-1 lead.
The following inning, WAP added an insurance run from Shawn Singleton, who singled and was later brought in on a bases-loaded walk.
The seventh inning provided its own nervous moments for the Titans, as a walk and a couple of hits loaded the bases for the Pirates with the top of their order laying in wait.
Reynolds went to the bullpen and found his closer, Joe Magro.
Magro quickly got lead-off hitter Rob Doughty to fly out to the second baseman for the first out, then struck out Josh Wheatley for the second out.
Cory Houston would not yield, as his hit brought in Softon and placed the tying run in scoring position.
Magro bounced back, getting Andy Price to ground out to the second-baseman for the game, set and match.
Kevin May led the Titans from the plate, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored.
His first came in the first inning from an RBI by Bozeman.
Following the game, Reynolds was quick to praise his prime-time performers.
“Kevin May is hitting the ball really well right now.
He’s a team leader, and he’s been leading with his bat.
He’s not bad when he’s on the mound, either.”
“Joe Magro has developed into a closer for us.
Obviously, by today’s performance, he’s handled it pretty well.”
“Nick (Laduron) has been the biggest surprise for us, though.
He’s got to be the best 1-3 (record) pitcher in the AISA, and I think he may have the lowest ERA on the team.
He’s supposed to be our #3 pitcher (behind seniors May and Shayne Hilchey) in our rotation.”
“He just doesn’t let the pressure get to him.”
Whether or not he’s aware of WAP-PA baseball tradition, his performance today proves that the tradition is alive and well.