Tigers end drought vs. Bibb

Published 9:53 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

Cameron Barger caught the routine fly ball that Ben Pettus induced Friday night to preserve Chase Cameron’s gem and give Demopolis (4-6) a 3-2 win for its first victory over Bibb County (9-3) in more than 16 years.

“It’s a big win because of who we beat and it’s a big win because we won a close game,” Demopolis assistant coach James Moody said. “I hope that propels us to going on to do what we are capable of.”

The game’s climactic sequence started when Pettus surrendered a leadoff single before the second batter of the seventh inning reached first on what was ruled a dropped third strike. Pettus battled back to sandwich a pair of strikeouts around a walk and face a bases loaded, two-out situation.

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Finding himself down 0-2, the Choctaws’ Kannon Johnston roped a two-rbi single to centerfield that left runners at second and third and BCHS one score away from tying the game. Pettus walked the next batter before getting the fly out that ended the game.

“They competed,” head coach Ben Ramer said of his players. “I’m proud of them. I’m really proud of them. We can build off that effort right there.”

Pettus took the mound with the bases loaded and two out in the sixth inning, moving from his shortstop position to get his team out of a tough spot. Pettus forced the only batter he faced in the sixth inning to hit a grounder to third. Hunter Wells fielded the ball and threw to first baseman Larry Dunn to end the inning.

“Ben did an excellent job getting us out of a tough situation,” Ramer said.

As he ran off the field Pettus was greeted by an enthusiastic Cameron, who delivered 121 pitches in a 13-strikeout performance that lasted five and two-thirds innings.

“Any time we’re good on the mound, we’ve got a chance,” Moody, who has worked closely with the Demopolis pitching staff this season, said. “(Pettus and Cameron) certainly gave us an opportunity to win. They threw strikes and were around the plate.”

The effort was Cameron’s best of the season thus far and gave Ramer hope that the Tigers have found a reliable starting pitcher.

“He’s developing into that guy that we can hand him the ball and he is going to give us a chance,” Ramer said.

Demopolis got on the board in the first inning when Pettus drew a walk with the bases loaded to score sophomore Kole Thrasher and give DHS a 1-0 lead without the benefit of a hit.

Thrasher made his presence known again in the top of the third when he grabbed a grounder that caromed off Cameron and quickly fired to Dunn at first, recording the third out of the inning and getting the Tigers out of a bases loaded, two-out jam.

In the home half of the third, Cameron drew a walk before giving way to courtesy runner Deonte Washington, who promptly stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error before scoring on an RBI grounder by Wells.

Cameron again found himself in a bases loaded situation in the fifth before fanning the next two batters to get out of the inning with a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers capped their scoring in the bottom of the inning when Pettus stroked a sacrifice flay to deep center that scored Washington, who was again running for Cameron.

While few can remember the last time Demopolis’ varsity defeated Bibb County, Moody said that victory occurred prior to 1994 when he began his coaching stint with DHS.

“Last year, (Demopolis players) made such a big deal of (the drought against Bibb),” Ramer said. “One of the players mentioned it (Thursday) and we kinda cut the talk right there.”

The win starts a weekend run for Demopolis that includes three games in two days, with Saturday’s contests coming at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. against American Christian Academy and Thomasville, respectively.

“Early in the week, we talked about how we wanted to approach this weekend as a three-game series,” Ramer said. “We’ve got three jam-up opponents this weekend. We took a step in the right direction tonight.”