Playing baseball at Fultondale High just got to be fun again.
The Wildcats topped their win total for all of last season by knocking off Parkway Christian 13-3 in five innings Thursday, in their second straight run-rule win.
It’s the third victory overall for Fultondale in five games, which is one more than the two wins the 2009 squad posted for the entire campaign.
It’s the type of result that new coach Tony Jeffers was looking for.
“We’ve gotten a lot better, especially after the Corner game,” Jeffers said. “We were ahead, and they were over in the other dugout going, ‘This is Fultondale! They’re not supposed to be any good!’ Now we are.”
Corner eventually won that game 12-9 in the Jefferson County Tournament last week. Since then, the Wildcats have rolled over Tarrant — Jeffers’ old team — and Parkway in wins that ended early via the mercy rule. It’s been years since Fultondale has won two mercy-rule games in a season.
Thursday’s win came largely at the hands of pitcher Kaleb Donaldson, who struck out nine Parkway batters and allowed just three hits for the day.
Donaldson’s only trouble spot came in the second inning, when he struggled early. He loaded the bases on a walk, a hit batsman and another walk, and then saw all three score on hits by left fielder Jaylon Rory and catcher (later relief pitcher) Brian Crooks.
Aside from that stretch, Donaldson was nearly perfect, allowing just one more walk and a fifth-inning hit that could have easily been scored as an error in right field.
Dondaldson himself scored three times, even though he didn’t get a hit. He reached base on two errors and a hit-by-pitch.
Indeed, Parkway was a much a victim of its own mistakes as it was Fultondale’s bats. The Cats did get doubles from Adam Kyle and Wes Horn plus singles from Gary Willis, Austin Gibson and Eddie de la Torre, but most Fultondale runners got on base via walks, errors or HBPs.
The Cats scored three runs in the first, with one coming in on a James Conn sacrficie fly. After Parkway tied the game in the top of the second, Fultondale went on a scoring binge, with four in the second inning and five in the third.
De la Torre’s run in the bottom of the fourth, his third score of the game, gave Donaldson the 10-run cushion he needed to end the contest early..