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Demopolis Cal Ripken under-11 all-stars go 1-4

CHILDERSBURG &8212; The 11-year-old all-stars traveled to Childersburg to play Matthews Park of Mobile in the first game of the State Tournament on July 5.

Strong pitching by Josh Mangum and good defensive plays by Mangum, Sam Blackburn and William Tutt kept Demopolis in the game through the first three innings, as Matthews led 3-0. In the bottom of the fourth inning Blackburn reached base on an error, followed by a hit from Tutt, a fielder&8217;s choice by Michael Brooker scoring Blackburn and a walk to Tyler Oates. With two in scoring position and two outs, Charlie Parten delivered a two-run double down the right field line to tie the score, 3-3, in the bottom of the inning.

Matthews did not let the tie last, as they scored five runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to beat Demopolis, 11-3.

In the second game July 6, Demopolis beat Alexander City, 4-3, due to five strong innings from starting pitcher Matt Eicher and a 3-up-3-down sixth inning by ace closer, Blackburn. Key defensive plays were turned in by Brooker, Mangum, Tutt, Demetrius Kemp, Logan Boone and Oates. Boone led Demopolis at the plate going 3-for-3 in the game.

Alexander City scored all three of their runs in the first inning and Demopolis scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning. Tutt led off the inning with a single to left field, followed by another from Boone, a fielder&8217;s choice by Eicher, a two RBI double from Oates, an RBI single by Brooker and the final RBI from a ground ball to third by Jack Kerby. Neither team scored in the fifth or sixth inning, so Demopolis won 4-3.

The third game of the tournament played Friday night, pitted Demopolis against Coosa of Gadsden. Once again, Demopolis kept the score close through four innings, trailing 2-0. Eicher turned in four key defensive plays in the four innings along with defensive plays by Kemp, Boone, Mangum, Brooker and Tutt. Blackburn kept Coosa off balance at the plate until the top of the fifth inning, as Coosa was able to score seven runs off five straight hits.

Will Tucker was brought in to finish the inning, but Coosa led 9-0. Not to be shutout, Demopolis plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth by hits from Tucker, Blackburn and Boone and walks issued to Brooker, Kemp and Tutt. The sixth inning was uneventful for both teams and Coosa won 9-4.

The final game of the State Tournament was played on Sunday and turned out to be a dandy, but Demopolis fell short to Monrovia after 9 innings, 8-7. Mangum pitched another good game going five innings and giving up only one run, as did the pitchers for Monrovia of Huntsville.

In the first six innings Demopolis had five hits from Blackburn, Boone, Eicher, Tucker and Mangum. However, in the seventh inning, Demopolis scored four runs off key hits from Stephen Stewart, Kemp and Boone.

Monrovia came back and tied the game in the bottom of the seventh off five hits. So, in the top of the eighth, Stewart and Kemp got things going again with singles to left followed by a two-run single from Blackburn. Once again, Monrovia answered with two runs and the score remained tied at the bottom of the eighth, 7-7.

Demopolis threatened to score again in the ninth with bases loaded and two outs. Blackburn lined a hot shot to centerfield, but the centerfielder was able to make a sliding catch to end the threat. Monrovia was able to score the run they needed in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 8-7. Oates turned in five good defensive plays along with others from Mangum, Tutt, Parten, Kemp, Boone and Eicher.

Matthews Park and Coosa went on to play in the championship game, with Matthews winning, 4-3.