A higher level of play

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, June 26, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — The city’s all-star teams from four Dixie Youth softball age groups competed in the District 8 tournament in Livingston over the weekend, continuing late round play Monday night.

The 11 and 12-year-old team kept its run alive Monday evening with a 9-2 victory over Grove Hill. The team opened the tournament with a 6-2, nine-inning loss to Butler Saturday before moving on to pick up a 6-5 victory against Thomasville and a 3-0 win over Gilbertown.

“We were real sluggish on batting,” Demopolis’s11-12 head coach Charles Jones said of his team’s offensive struggles throughout the tournament. “They actually woke up (Monday). We hit the ball real good.”

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The Demopolis girls surged out to an early lead, putting themselves in position to experiment with their lineup.

“We tried out some 11-year-old pitchers, got the chance to save some of our pitchers for the final run,” Jones said.

Meredith Mackin and Reily King led the way with two runs apiece. Alexis Jones, Olivia Brame, Sidney Colyar, Courtney Lawrence and Rachel England each scored one run in the contest.

“I can’t say enough about the help I’m getting,” Jones said of the parents and coaches who have been assisting him throughout the tournament.

While Demopolis’s next opponent had not been determined at press time, the prominent feeling around the field Monday night seemed to be that Linden would play that role.

The girls from Linden, undefeated in the double-elimination tilt entering Monday’s play, took on Butler, who had already picked up one loss.

Should Demopolis meet Linden, it will need to win two games to claim the District 8 championship.

“This is the first time that we’ve had a good rapport. (Linden) actually played us in a practice game,” Jones said of his team’s relationship with Linden. “They actually cheered us on right there (during Monday’s game against Grove Hill). You don’t see that a lot between Demopolis and Linden.” The 11 and 12-year-old girls will compete tonight at 6 p.m. in Livingston.

The 13-15-year-old girls rounded out their season Monday night with a 14-3 loss to Wilcox in the championship round. Lindsey Fields, Jamiyah Armstead and Zoe Lewis scored one run apiece to account for the Demopolis scoring on the night.

“We knew Wilcox was going to be hard,” Demopolis 13-15-year-old head coach Mike Schroeder said. “The girls did a great job. I’m very proud of every one of them.”

The team opened play Saturday with an 11-4 loss to Gilbertown before picking up back-to-back 11-3 wins over Thomasville Saturday evening and Gilbertown Sunday. The Wilcox loss placed the girls second among the seven teams that competed in the District 8 tournament.

“They performed outstandingly this whole tournament,” Schroeder said of the girls.

Demopolis’s youngest competitors, the 7 and 8-year-old girls also finished their tournament run Monday night with a 15-8 loss to Butler.

Sarah Duncan and Kendall Hannah each scored two runs for Demopolis while Corie Hall, Claire Mackin, McKenzie Walker and Kayla Montz each crossed home once.

“I think they did excellent,” head coach Bob Walker said of his team. The girls began play Saturday with a loss to Thomasville before rebounding with wins over Sumter and Excel.

“We just couldn’t get going (Saturday) morning,” Walker said. “We bounced back and played hard.”

Demopolis’s 9 and 10-year-old girls team was eliminated during Sunday’s play.