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Selma edges out Demopolis

CLANTON – The law of averages is as much a part of baseball as hitting, pitching and defense. No matter how well a team has played against another team in the past, the losing team’s luck has to eventually change.

It appeared that the luck had finally changed for the Demopolis All-Stars in their Tuesday game against Selma. After four previous losses this season, Demopolis held a commanding 3-0 lead through four innings.

Luck, however, is no match to an undying will to win.

The Selma All-Stars scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, then plated the winning run in the eighth to earn a 4-3 win over Demopolis in the semifinals of the 14-year-olds Dixie Boys State Baseball Tournament.

Selma will face defending champion Opelika for the title on Wednesday. Selma must beat Opelika twice to win the double-elimination tournament. The loss eliminated Demopolis from the tourney.

Darius Steele scored on a wild pitch with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth to give Selma its fifth straight win over Demopolis this year. James Bennett worked five strong innings of relief to pick up the mound victory.

Steele opened the eighth inning with a walk, then moved to third on a double by Jacoby Carter. Steele scored the winning run when the first pitch from Demopolis reliever Phillip Farmer to Justin Quinnelly skipped in the dirt and past home plate

“There is no give-up on this team whatsoever,” Selma head coach Mark Rouleau said. “We never run out of luck until the last out of the last inning. With our bats, I don’t worry about it too much.”

The Selma bats, however, were quiet early on. Demopolis appeared even more in command with ace pitcher Chris Whitaker on the mound. Whitaker allowed five hits over the first four innings, but was backed by some sparkling defense that helped him face the minimum six batters over the first two frames.

Jeremy Phillips looked to give Selma the early lead when he singled with one out, then stole second and third base. Phillips tagged up on Clint Maroney’s fly to centerfield. But Demopolis centerfielder Scott Cannon lived up to his named, firing a shot to catcher Farmer, nailing Phillips at the plate.

Demopolis grabbed the lead in the top of the third off Selma starting pitcher Jacoby Carter.

Whitaker beat out an infield single to lead off the frame, then advanced to second on a walk to Andy Flowers. After Carter hit Jason Fondren with a pitch to load the bases, Drew Stewart’s infield grounder was mishandled by Selma, allowing Whitaker to score.

Flowers scored on a walk to Cannon, and Fondren came home when Kyle Stephens also was hit by a pitch.

Bennett then relieved Carter and retired the side on two infield groundouts and a strikeout.

Selma began its rally in the fifth when Carter singled with one out, went

to second on a botched pickoff play and scored on a single by Blake Robinson to narrow the margin to 3-1.

In the sixth, Bennett beat out a two-out infield single, stole second and scored on pinch-hitter Justin Brown’s double off the right-centerfield wall to make it a 3-2 game.

Selma tied the game in the seventh when Jeremy Phillips reached on a fielder’s choice, went to second on a walk to Maroney, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.