Linden, Sumter eliminated at 11-12 Area tourney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2005

LINDEN-The Linden 11-and-12 All-Stars got the better of Sumter County’s one more time, but it still wasn’t enough to claim them the Dixie Youth Area Tournament title.

Including games from the 11-and-12-year old Sub-District tournament, Linden was able to defeat Sumter for a third consecutive time in an elimination game Friday night, capitalizing on a late run and excellent pitching to edge the visitors 3-2. But Linden could not advance any further, losing to Thomasville 8-3 Saturday evening for their second loss of the tourney.

Things looked fine for Linden in the bottom of the third inning of their game against Thomasville, when pitcher Trevor Johnson crushed a fastball deep over the center-field fence for a two-run home run and a Linden lead. But Johnson’s blast would mark the final time Linden would dent the scoreboard as Thomasville tied the game in the fourth and went on to record the victory.

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Despite the team’s disappointing ending, Linden 11-and-12-year old All-Stars head coach Michael Etheridge says the players–and their closest supporters–should keep their heads high for the effort they made.

“I’m definitely proud of them,” Etheridge said. “I’m proud of the hard work they put in. We also had the participation of a lot of good parents this year.”

As they had in their undefeated run to the Sub-District title, Linden’s pitching rotation made the difference in the team’s 3-2 elimination game win over Sumter Friday. Matt Etheridge, Chase Smyly, and Johnson pitched two innings each in holding Sumter to only pair of runs: one scored in the second on back-to-back doubles by Dillon Goodwin and Paul Reed, and one in the fifth when Alex Sturdivant doubled and stole his way home.

Both Sumter runs tied the game, but each time Linden had a response and Sumter was eliminated despite Goodwin’s solid complete-game performance.

“Our kids played good,” said Sumter coach Nelson Sturdivant. “Most of them are coming back next year, the core value of our team isn’t changing much. We’ll see how we do next year.”

Linden’s 11-and-12-year old All-Star team is Chase Smyly, Rabe Hale, Trevor Johnson, Reid Barkley, Chris Sammons, Matt Etheridge, Alex Hopkins, Hunter Crouch, Jacob Dunn, Mason Tucker, Devin Walker, Kevin Pritchett, and Justin Beverly. They are coached by Michael Etheridge, Perry Johnson, and Randy Hale.

Sumter’s All-Stars are Alex Sturdivant, Cade Oliver, Daniel Sturdivant, Glen Hutchins, Dillon Goodwin, Tyler Cobb, David Tanner, Austin Armstrong, Paul Reed, Kohl Bailey, Alan Castleman, Webb Busby, and Corey Guin. They are coached by Nelson Sturdivant.