Playing for a cause

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; Much more than softball was on the minds of players, coaches and fans who took part Wednesday in the Demopolis High School softball team’s 1-0 victory over American Christian Academy.

The game, originally scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start, was moved up to 2 p.m. in order to aid in the cause of the day, Relay for Life. The DHS softball team also serves as a Relay for Life team. The squad set the goal of raising $2,500 for the charity this year, electing to dedicate the funds of Wednesday’s game to the cause. In addition to placing emphasis on Relay for Life, the Tigers dedicated their performance to Haley Dotson, the six-year-old Demopolis girl who recently succumbed to a rare form of cancer.

As part of the pre-game festivities Dotson’s older sister, Kaitlyn Beshears, threw out the first pitch.

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Following Beshears’ ceremonial first toss, everyone in attendance observed a moment of silence in memory of Dotson.

Once the game began, it was difficult for some of the girls to go back to business as usual. Sara Davis, the DHS starting pitcher, attested to thinking about the contest’s special meaning in the game’s early moments before settling into her groove.

Davis was dominant from the outset, striking out two of the first three Patriot hitters she faced. That momentum carried into the bottom half of the first when Tiger leadoff hitter Jasmine Simmons stroked a single to left before swiping second base. She came around to score when Devin Latham found a hole in the ACA defense. The Tiger bats soon fizzled, leaving it to Davis to make the run stand up.

Davis did just that, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning before an ACA drag bunt broke up the feat. Davis rebounded quickly, striking out eight Patriots and scattering three hits across seven innings to overcome her team’s offensive struggles and secure the win for Demopolis.

Winning a game on which they placed a special focus appeared to add an extra reward for the girls.

According to Simmons, the girls were aware coming into the contest they would have their work cut out for them in their attempts to honor Dotson.

While Simmons is sparking the team on the field, whatever ignited their efforts off of it took center stage Wednesday as preliminary figures indicate the game raised just shy of $1,000 to benefit Relay for Life.

The girls will compete again today when they host the 6A Prattville Lions at 5:30 p.m.