Express keeps upper hand

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The Expert Express remains in control of its destiny after disposing of A-1 Auto Friday night by a final of 18-2, staying in first place in regular-season play.
   "We will be tied with T&C, but we beat them twice, so we should be champs," said Expert Express coach Charlie Bradford.
   It was a combination of defense and hard hitting that moved the Express one step closer toward the inside track of the up-and-coming tournament.
   "We're going to be looking to win the tournament, and I think we can do it, but we will have to look out for T&C and Citizen's," Bradford said. "They both beat us," said Bradford
   In the first inning, the Express jumped out to a 4-1 lead, then didn't look back.
   Expert encountered its first two scores when Aaron Bradford knocked a double to drive in Shane Heaton and Jake Oliver.
   A fielder's choice from Brent Thomas brought in Bradford, while Blake Russell scored off of a wild pitch.
   "We pitched two young pitchers tonight, and we probably didn't hit the ball as well as I thought we should, but they have a real young team," said Bradford.
   A-1 Auto was able to put a score up on the board in the bottom of the frame as a double by Aaron Taylor brought home Logan Carden.
   "The score might not reflect it, but we actually played better today than we did the other night," said A-1 Auto coach Mickey Taylor.
   Two more runs came for the Express in the second frame after an error by the second-baseman enabled Crystal Covington to score, and an overthrown ball from the catcher to third base allowed Dustin Carden to come in.
   In the third frame, the Express turned it up a notch by scoring eight runs off of eight hits.
   "We will play a good inning or two, and then we kind of fall apart, but of course we were playing a team," said Mickey Taylor.
   The first run came after a ground single in between first and second brought home Hunter Taylor.
   Another score came when Franky Birchfield crossed the plate following a Brit Yelton triple to right-center field.
   A-1 Auto added their second run of the night in the top of the third, after having bases loaded with no outs.
   It came when a throw from shortstop to second-base was dropped.
   This would have made the final out, for Birchfield had managed to come back with consecutive strikeouts after being behind.
   Five more runs were scored in the fourth frame by the Express with the first one coming from an infield homer by Thomas.
   A-1 Auto had decided to make a pitching change for the frame by replacing Carden for Alex Chambers.
   Carden did a respectable job by only throwing four walks in 26 batters faced.
   "He's been gone for a couple of weeks, and he come back today and pitched pretty well, and he's just nine so we will have him for three more years," said Mickey Taylor.
   The last three runs of the game came when Dustin Carden hit a tripe to center-field, which brought home Yelton, Covington, and Jordan Pearce.