Demopolis 16-6 over Dawgs

Published 10:02 pm Friday, February 20, 2009

Demopolis (2-1) picked up a 16-6 victory on the road against Sweet Water (1-1) Thursday night.

After getting two on with only one out in the first inning, the Tigers failed to score after committing back-to-back base-running blunders that saw the second and third outs of the inning recorded at home plate.

The Bulldogs capitalized on their opening opportunity when Michael Thompson ripped a one-out double to set the stage for Chris Landrum’s two-run homer.

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“I thought we drove the ball,” Sweet Water head coach Kevin Byrd said. “I thought we hit very well.”

Sweet Water starter Hunter Mayton rode the momentum of that blast to a 1-2-3 second inning.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the third, the Tigers went to work. Cameron Barger led the inning off with an infield hit. Kole Thrasher followed, ripping a single to center. Barger was allowed to score when the ensuing throw sailed over the fence along the third-base line, cutting the score to 2-1. Thrasher, who advanced to third on the throw, tied the game on a passed ball.

Austin Holley doubled before Larry Dunn drew a walk. Shelby Speegle was then struck by a pitch to load the bases. Jacob Kerby followed with an RBI single to give Demopolis the lead. Trey Oates picked up an RBI when he was struck by a pitch. Hunter Wells then stroked a shot to the gap in right-center that appeared to be bound for extra bases before Landrum made a diving catch to keep him to one RBI and record the first out of the inning. Morgan LeCroy then picked up an RBI before Thrasher hit his second single of the inning to plate another run. Holley then ripped his second double of the inning to knock in the Tigers’ ninth run of the frame.

“I was pleased with the way we swung the bats,” DHS head coach Ben Ramer said. “I’m seeing some promise out of some guys that didn’t get a whole lot of reps last year.”

In the inning, Demopolis sent seven men to the plate before the first out was recorded. Seven of the 13 Demopolis batters hit safely in the frame while one drew a walk and two were struck by pitches.

“Ben and them do a real good job,” Byrd said of the Demopolis coaching staff. “They’re always ready.”

After recording the third out, Sweet Water senior first baseman Tate Luker addressed his teammates in the dugout.

“There’s a lot of baseball left, y’all,” he said. “Just chip away and don’t let them score.”

The Bulldogs started chipping away in the home half of the third when Ladarius Dumas walked, stole second and moved up 180 feet on a passed ball, cutting the score to 9-3.

Demopolis retaliated in the top of the fourth with back-to-back walks to Speegle and Kerby, and the plunking of Trey Oates loaded the bases for Wells, who picked up an RBI on a routine grounder to short. A fielding error by the shortstop allowed a second run to score on the play, putting Demopolis up 11-3.

The Tigers padded the lead again in the fourth with a two-out rally. Dunn singled and stole second before Speegle walked. Kerby then ripped a double down the left-field line to plate Dunn. Oates’ grounder then kicked off the glove of the shortstop, allowing Speegle to score. LeCroy then hit a groundball that skipped under the shortstop’s glove and into center field, allowing Demetrius Charleston, who pinch ran for Kerby, to score.

Demopolis carried a 14-3 lead into the bottom of the fifth. The deficit put Sweet Water three outs from losing the game via the 10-run rule.

Dumas started the inning off with a walk before advancing to second on a passed ball. Two batters later, Antonio Landrum stroked a double to plate Dumas and cut the score to 14-4. One out away from the 10-run rule, Luker continued to chip away, ripping a single that scored Antonio Landrum to put Sweet Water down 14-5 and extend the game.

“That’s the attitude we’re looking for,” Byrd said of his team’s resiliency. “Part of our focus is to just be scrappy and tough.”

Demopolis added two more in the sixth when Thrasher hit a one-out single before scoring on a single by Dunn. Chase Cameron, who coaxed a base on balls, scored the Tigers’ final run on a single by Kerby.

Sweet Water added one more run in the sixth when Mayton doubled to lead off the inning and came around to score on a Linc Luker double. In his first action on a varsity mound, Demopolis pitcher Kole Thrasher then settled to pick up two strikeouts while retiring the top of the Sweet Water order to end the game.

“Kole Thrasher is a winner. He’s a competitor,” Ramer said.

After serving up the early home run, Kerby, Demopolis’ starting pitcher, allowed three runs over the next 4-1/3 innings.

“He threw strikes,” Ramer said of Kerby, who typically serves as the team’s starting catcher. “I thought he really, really settled down after (the home run) and threw well.”

The teams will play one another again when Sweet Water visits Demopolis on April 11.

“I’m not real familiar with west Alabama, but I know what is in Sweet Water, and that’s winners,” Ramer said. “We’re real close together, and it’s good we could play each other.”

“We’re close and we need to be playing each other,” Byrd said of what he hopes will become a friendly rivalry. “This could make a good rivalry.”