SPORTS HEADLINES

Samples shuts down Eagles; Senior’s first win puts Bulls in hunt for second in 9-3A

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It’s been a long time coming, but Alex Samples’ first victory of the season couldn’t have been any sweeter.

The Bridgeport senior right-hander limited the rival Decatur Eagles to a single unearned run on four hits Friday in a 2-1 victory.

Nice Throw

NICE THROW – Bridgeport Bulls pitcher Alex Samples mows down the Eagles for his first victory of the season. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

“My first win all season – a 2-1 game against Decatur – I couldn’t ask for better,” Samples said. “I had all three pitches working. I was being able to spot the curveball and throw it around the zone. I kept them off balance, and they chased a couple of pitches.”

Samples’ gem gave the Bulls (7-16, 3-3) their third straight victory in District 9-3A and a chance to get into a three-way tie for second in the league. That’s if form holds with unbeaten Sanger winning out and winless Gainesville dropping its final two. Bridgeport took on Sanger Tuesday and closes with Gainesville Friday.

“I told the kids to keep battling and they are,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps.

Decatur (11-12-2, 4-3) dropped their second straight district game. The Eagles have only a showdown with Sanger Friday remaining on their schedule.

“This puts us where there could be a three-way tie. But if we take care of Sanger, we could be the second-place team,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter.

Decatur will need to get the bats going to have a chance against Sanger. Friday against Samples, the Eagles mustered just three singles and a double by Austin Givens, who finished 2-for-3. Givens scored the Eagles’ lone run after a walk and an error by the Bulls on a Cain Lowe flyball in the top of the fifth.

In the Nick of Time

IN THE NICK OF TIME – Decatur’s Austin Givens slides past Bridgeport’s Jared Huff and tags first base to beat out the pitcher’s attempt to throw him out. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Samples struck out eight and never allowed another runner past first after the fifth inning.

“He pitched a great game,” Carter said. “He was in the strike zone all night and ahead in the count. Whenever he got to two strikes, he’d throw his curveball out or a fastball up and would get us to chase something.”

Decatur starter Clayton Egle was as impressive as Samples in his six innings of work. He allowed only two unearned runs on two hits and struck out three. He walked one and hit a batter.

“He threw a great game,” Carter said. “That was coming off throwing a lot of pitches Tuesday night in extra innings.”

Bridgeport took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after Jared Huff was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Lane Morrow’s sacrifice fly.

The Bulls made it 2-0 in the third with Erik Delgadillo singling and eventually scoring on a Decatur error.

The two runs were enough for Samples and the Bulls.

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