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Demopolis baseball, softball grab W’s

The Demopolis Tigers baseball team surged above the .500 mark with a 3-1 record in the weekend’s Tombigbee Classic tournament. The Tigers recovered from a tough loss to 5A Paul Bryant to open the season to move to 3-2 overall in the young 2006 season.

“I was pleased with our effort,” said Demopolis head coach James Moody. “We played hard. We didn’t play smart, but it’s good to get back on the winning track.”

The Tigers split their Friday twilight doubleheader against Citronelle and host Jackson. In their first game, Demopolis used a pair of clutch pitching performances from David Kent and J.B. Black to earn a 4-3 win over the 5A Wildcats. Kent allowed only two earned runs on a pair of base hits (along with four strikeouts and two walks) and left after 5 and 2/3rds innings with the 4-3 lead.

Black pitched the final 1 1/3 innings without allowing a run, striking out one and preserving the 4-3 victory for his first save and Kent’s first win of the season. Kent is 1-0.

The Tigers were led at the plate by Kyle Thrasher, who went 2-2 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBIs. Hunter Hawley and Black each contributed a hit as well.

Things didn’t go as smoothly for Demopolis in the nightcap, as they fell to hosts Jackson by a 5-0 score. Hunter Hawley went 3-4 from the plate and Kent and Rob Quinney each collected a hit, but the Tigers were unable to force a run across as the Aggies tossed a shutout. Bart Butler took the loss for Demopolis, falling to 0-1.

Saturday’s doubleheader took place in Leroy, with Demopolis squaring off at 10 a.m. against the host team Bears. The game entered the fifth inning tied at 6, but the Tigers outscored Leroy 7-0 over the final three innings to nab a big 13-6 win. Hawley picked up the win, pitching all seven innings while striking out seven and allowing six hits. The senior is now 1-0 on the season.

Hawley helped himself in a big way at the plate, finishing 4-4 with 3 RBIs. Thrasher and Butler each finished with a pair of RBIs on 2 hits, Kent and Scott Cannon each recorded 2 hits, and Quinney and Rob Rorie had 1 hit apiece.

Demopolis’s fourth game in two days sent the team into their week-long graduation exam break on a high note. The Tigers capitalized on generous Clarke County pitching and got solid pitching of their own to knock off the Bulldogs 14-4. Quinney improved to 1-0 on the season by throwing five innings, giving up four hits and four runs while striking out three. Sophomore Cannon threw two scoreless innings to finish the victory.

Hawley again led the offense by going 2-5 while Butler and senior Luke Massey each doubled in the 14-run effort.

Demopolis will now wait until March 13 for their next action, a home opening doubleheader against East Webster and Greensboro starting at 4:30 p.m. Perhaps the biggest positive moving forward for Moody is that the Tigers pulled out three of four in the Tombigbee tournament despite missing top pitcher Tyler Moody, out through injury.

“We had several guys step up and show us that they’ll be able to give us some big innings,” James Moody said, referring to Kent, Hawley, and Black, amongst others. “They did an outstanding job. We need our pitchers to keep us in the game. We hit some balls well over the weekend, but we’ve got a long to go offensively. We’ll work on that all through the off-week.”

Demopolis softball splits games

The Tiger softball team won on the road in Mississippi Feb. 28 but dropped their home opener the next day to Tuscaloosa County.

Playing at West Lauderdale High last week the Tigers got a SportsCenter-quality catch from second baseman Dorothy Knapp to preserve a 4-3 win. Sara Davis went the distance for the win, striking out six and walking four while allowing only two earned runs. India Chancelor led the Tigers at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance, followed by Brandi McGee, Hunter Lewis, and Molly Barnes with 2 hits each.

“It was good to get a W under our belts after the tough (season-opening) loss to Prattville,” said head coach Joey Browder. “We hit well and had notable contributions from everybody in getting the win. It was a total team effort, which is what it’s all about.”

But the next day was a different story as the Tigers fell 6-0 at home to Tuscaloosa County. McGee pitched all seven innings, walking only one and striking out three but also giving up eight hits. Demopolis finished the game with only two hits: one by McGee and one by Chancelor.

“We played at a really high level the night before and came out this afternoon flat and unfocused,” Browder said. “We didn’t hit the ball at the plate, and they did. There were bright spots and some good plays made in the field (by infielders Knapp and Lewis and first baseman Barnes). We had one bad inning and then played fair the rest of the game.”

The Tigers’ next home contest will be this Thursday against Hillcrest of Tuscaloosa at 4:30 p.m.