Demopolis readies for last chance against Thomasville

Published 11:11 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

Demopolis’ final test before it enters area play comes Monday when it hosts Thomasville (9-2). As the only 5A team in the area, natural rivals do not come easily for the Tigers.

However, to Demopolis players, Monday’s engagement is nothing short of the continuation of an emotional rivalry.

“Growing up, you watch your brothers play and watch older people play and you see them get pumped up for that game,” sophomore Ben Pettus said. “You don’t really know how it started, but there’s something deep down in your gut where you know you’re supposed to beat Thomasville.”

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The Thomasville Tigers hold a 2-1 advantage over the Demopolis Tigers over the last two seasons. In 2008, each team held serve at home with THS winning an extra-inning affair at home before blowing an eight-run lead late to squander its opportunity in Demopolis before falling 18-17.

“Last year I had the winning hit,” Pettus said. “I was excited about it.”

This season, Thomasville won the first meeting at home 6-4.

“This is the last shot we will get at them,” Demopolis head coach Ben Ramer said of Monday’s contest.

Monday also marks the final time the Demopolis seniors will have an opportunity to face Thomasville.

“Rivalries are always going to be good games,” DHS senior Trey Oates said. “I don’t know about everybody else, but it means a ton to me. This is the last time I get to play a big rivalry game ever. I doubt I get to go play college or anything. So this is it.”

For Demopolis (5-13) the game carries with it the opportunity to put together its first winning streak of the season. The home Tigers are fresh off an 8-6 win over Robert E. Lee.

“If we get this winning streak right here, it will just be great going into area games,” Oates said.

“That little extra confidence going into the area will be big too,” Pettus added.

While the Tigers are not downplaying the importance of the game in any way, Ramer said the squad is in a unique position.

“Monday is a big game for us,” Ramer said. “It’s Thomasville. That’s always a big game for us. It comes at a tough time for us. So it’s not like we can run our best arms out there against them.”

Thomasville is the first of four games the Tigers will play next week. Demopolis travels to Carver for an area game Tuesday before hosting a double-header against the Wolverines Friday.

“It would be a big momentum boost for us to get that one and kind of jump start us into area play,” Ramer said.

But, no matter who Demopolis runs out on the mound, the Tigers are adamant that the entirety of their focus Monday will be aimed at adding another tick in the loss column for 4A’s No. 5 team.

“I hate that bragging right they get,” Pettus said. “Whoever wins the last game we play gets that little extra confidence going into next season.”

The teams are scheduled to meet at Demopolis High School Monday at 5 p.m.