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Demopolis “Belles” win back-to-back games at state

MONTGOMERY-Back against the wall? No room for error? No problem, at least for the Demopolis 13-15-year old “Belles” All-Star softball team, who rebounded from a first-round defeat at the state tournament in Montgomery to record back-to-back ten-run-rule victories and advance within a game of the state championship round.

After falling 5-0 to Muscle Shoals Friday night to slip into the loser’s bracket, Demopolis pounded North Chilton 12-1 in five innings Saturday morning and followed that up with a 10-0 shutout of Huntsville Sunday afternoon. Demopolis will now take on host team and tourney favorite Montgomery Gray, which has thus far outscored its opponents 22-1 in three tournament victories.

A Demopolis victory Monday night (game time is scheduled for 8 p.m., with results unavailable until after press time) would leave them as one of the tournament’s final three teams standing and drawing for the right to have a bye into the title game. They would finish no worse than runner-up.

Demopolis advanced with a combination of overpowering pitching, discipline at the plate, solid defense, and opportunistic base-running. Against Huntsville, Demopolis pitchers Sara Davis, Savanna Osmer, Shay Smith, and Nicole Davis combined to limit Huntsville to two hits and never allowed a runner to reach third. Sara Davis, Osmer, and Smith worked together to carry a no-hitter into the fifth.

Meanwhile, Demopolis’s aggressiveness on the basepaths paid off as they slowly built their ten-run lead. In the first, Jasmine Simmons led off the game with a double before stealing third and home. Morgan Patterson walked and stole her way to third before Raven Simmons drove her in with an RBI single. Simmons then stole second, third, and home to give Demopolis a 3-0 lead entering the second inning, despite a couple of questionable calls on the part of the home plate umpire.

Demopolis rolled from there, going up 4-0 in the second on a Corey Gross walk and steal of home; 5-0 in the fourth on a Patterson single and steal of home; and 8-0 in the fifth after a Nicole Davis single, a Lindsey Bedsole walk, and a Corey Gross RBI single and steal of home.

Demopolis’s defense and offense combined to finish Huntsville off in the sixth. In the top half, shortstop Jasmine Simmons fielded a bloop single in short left near the third-base line, fired the ball to her sister Raven Simmons at second, and nabbed the Huntsville runner trying to stretch the hit into a double. In the bottom half of the inning, Sara Davis singled home Patterson and then stole home herself, pushing the lead to ten runs and ending the game.

North Chilton suffered the same fate in Demopolis’s first game in the loser’s bracket Saturday morning, losing in five innings. Sara Davis, Osmer (who pitched the middle three innings,) and Nicole Davis combined to hold North Chilton to a single run while Demopolis took full advantage of erratic North Chilton pitching. Nicole Davis, Gross, Osmer, and Alex Ward each drew consecutive second-inning walks before Jasmine Simmons connected for a bases-clearing three-RBI triple. That extended the Demopolis lead to 6-0 and they would not look back, scoring three each in the bottom of the third and fourth innings for the 12-1 win.

Coupled with their two victories at the District tournament in Grove Hill, their performance in Montgomery gives the 2005 Belles a perfect 4-0 record in games where they face elimination. In those four wins, Demopolis has combined to allow only two runs in twenty-five innings of work (an ERA of 0.56) and has outscored their opposition 28-2.

Demopolis’s 13-15 year-old All-Stars are Jasmine Simmons, Morgan Patterson, Mahogany Jones, Sara Davis, Raven Simmons, Shay Smith, Savanna Osmer, Corey Gross, Lindsey Bedsole, Victoria Barley, Alex Ward, and Nicole Davis.