Winner found after hard fought games

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Wallace Wood Nationals battled back from an early deficit against the Tutt Real Estate Tigers to take the lead and held off a Tiger rally to send the championship series of the 9-and 10- year-old Cal Ripken League to a final game yesterday evening.

The Nationals came into the game as the underdog, after being knocked into the loser&8217;s bracket by the Tigers and battling back to the final match up. To win the series the National had to beat the undefeated Tigers twice in a row in a double header yesterday evening.

The Tigers came out with an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Ryan Schroeder was walked at the beginning of the inning and stole third over the course of two outs before a triple by Joseph Wilson drove him in. Wilson, too, scored on the play after a bad throw to first allowed him to round the bases.

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The Nationals also scored off a lead walk, as a single by Trent Crepps sent Spence Owens to third. Owens scored later after a wild pitch allowed him home, cutting the lead to 2-1.

The Tigers made the point up in the bottom of the second, after two strikeouts, two singles and a walk loaded the bases. A wild pitch allowed Caleb Holtzclaw to head for home where he barely missed being tagged out at the plate by National pitcher Austin Brooks, who couldn&8217;t hold onto the ball.

After two early outs in the top of the third the Nationals had two runners in scoring position off a single and a double, but an attempt to capitalize by stealing home ended the inning, 3-1.

After being walked and stealing second, Wallace Tutt added one, 4-1, for the Tigers, getting home off a Mark Joseph Johnson single and a Nationals error. Johnson was tagged out later in the play after making a jump for third.

The Nationals put themselves back into scoring position in the top of the fourth. After a single Troy Pontillas, who stole both second and third during the next batter&8217;s count, would come in off a Crepps single. Crepps was forced out at second off a Jonathan Lins single, and a Kevin Crepps bunt and mishandled throw to first allowed Kevin to third and Lins across home. Kevin scored after Vince Mosley hit a single and the Tigers escaped the inning with a, 4-4, tie.

The Tiger&8217;s couldn&8217;t respond in the bottom of the fifth and the Nationals grabbed the lead in the top of the sixth, 6-4. Trip Perry got on off a single and a triple by Brooks brought him home. After a ground out, Pontillas singled to bring in Perry, after which the Tigers shut down the inning.

Tigers worked within one in the bottom of the sixth, 6-5, after a ground out by Johnson was enough to send in Seth Aiken, who had already hit a double.

The Nationals extended their lead in the top of the seventh, after a walk, a single and two wild pitches moved Wil Stephens and Perry into scoring positions. A single from Stephen Owens would be enough to get both runners across the pale and make it 8-5 heading to the bottom of the inning.

Holtzclaw lead off for the Tigers with a double that was followed by two strikeouts, as he stole third. A single by Schroeder would score Holtzclaw, and Schroeder moved to third as Aiken picked up a walk.

A ground ball by Tutt to the third baseman of the Nationals team would decide the game, when Schroeder crossed home as Tutt was throw out at first ending the game.

The two teams followed the first game with a tournament deciding let game, were the Nationals fell in a close played Tiger, 7-6, victory.

More coverage of the second game will follow in the weekend edition of The Times.