Demopolis drops Selma in game with playoff implications

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Demopolis (10-16, 4-1) rode the strength of a dominant Shelby Speegle performance to pick up a 12-2 win over Selma and clinch a playoff spot Tuesday.

“It was a must-win,” DHS head coach Ben Ramer said. “I thought we wallowed around for a long time there. We had three backward Ks on pitches that were there. I didn’t think we were real sharp at the plate there. You don’t want to do that anytime, but especially not this time of the year.”

Despite holding an 8-2 lead, the Tigers had just one base hit heading into the fifth inning of play. The bulk of the Tiger baserunners came as the result of control problems from Selma pitching. Saints hurlers issued seven walks and plunked four batters in the game.

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The Tigers capitalized on the control issues in the second inning to score six runs. The lone hit of the rally came off the bat of Larry Dunn, who stroked a two-RBI double.

Demopolis added two more in the third when Speegle laced a fly ball to left that was quickly misplayed by a Selma outfielder to allow two runs to score.

Speegle helped give his offense breathing room early, striking out the first five batters he faced to start the game. Selma’s first hit of the game came in the second inning when catcher Johnny Franklin hit a slow roller between the Tiger third baseman and shortstop for a base knock.

The Saints’ next opportunity for a baserunner came in the fourth inning when Jacoby Adams roped a pitch into the gap in left-centerfield for a shot that appeared destined for extra bases.

However, the Tiger dugout erupted moments later as center-fielder Cameron Barger ranged to his left and dove into the left-centerfield alley to make the catch and keep the bases empty.

“He got a great jump and got parallel to the ground and made a great catch,” Ramer said of Barger. “I was glad to see it.”

The Saints struck for two runs one inning later when Deion Daniel hit a two-RBI single to left to get Selma on the board.

Demopolis answered in the home half of the inning when Kole Thrasher and Jacob Kerby hit back-to-back singles to start the inning before Dunn was struck by a pitch for the second time in the game to load the bases with no outs. Speegle followed with a double that hit near the base of the centerfield wall and plated three runs.

After Demetrius Charleston entered the game to run for Speegle, the senior was able round third and score the game-ending run one batter later.

Chase Cameron, Austin Holley, Will Hill and Logan Holley each scored one run in the game while Rick Boone added three.

“You did what you had to do. You put yourself in the postseason today,” Ramer told his team following the game. That was only minutes before Chilton County put the finishing touches on a 14-3 win over Carver. That result, coupled with the DHS win, puts Demopolis in control of its playoff fate. The Tigers now must win the front end of a double-header with Selma Friday in order to clinch the area championship.

“For us to have our destiny in our own hands, to have a chance to go to Selma and win the area championship, there shouldn’t be a whole lot that has to be said,” Ramer said.

Speegle allowed only three hits and two runs while striking out 10 Saints over five innings of work to help the Tigers to the victory.

“Shelby Speegle was excellent on the mound. I thought he was real sharp,” Ramer said. “He and Trey (Oates), they’re both going to give us the chance to win.”

The Tigers will likely turn to Oates to clinch the area title Friday.

“We’ve kind of rotated those guys back and forth,” Ramer said. “It was Shelby’s turn today. It will be Trey’s turn Friday.”