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Demopolis 8U goes to 2-0 in district play

The Demopolis Cal Ripken 8U All-Star team is 2-0 after two days of pool play, downing Linden 23-6 Tuesday night, just 24 hours after blasting Butler 18-2.

“They’re hitting the ball great,” Demopolis head coach Ronnie Cox said of his players. “They are all getting up there and doing what we’re asking them to do.”

The team jumped on Butler for eight runs in the first and seven in the second to charge out to an early lead Monday night.

Tuesday, Demopolis wasted little time getting on the board. Playing as the visiting team, Demopolis struck first when Andrew Fuqua and Trey Malone scored.

In the second inning, Hunter Duren made it 3-0 in Demopolis’ favor when he scored on a hit by Dustin Stephens. Grant Patterson then stroked a single to score Stephens. Patterson and Will Turberville came around on a Fuqua double. Malone cleared the bases on an inside-the-park homer that also plated Fuqua.

In his second at-bat of the second inning, Duren doubled to plate Tre Etheridge and D.J. Evans. Jackson Cox came home on a Payton Geary single. For the second time in the frame, Duren scored on a Stephens RBI to make it 12-0 for Demopolis.

Geary added another run on a Turberville single. Patterson then brought in Turberville with a hit to push it to 14-0 before coming in to score himself on a Fuqua hit, leaving the score at 15-0 after an inning and a half.

“I don’t want them to get the big head and think they can’t be beat,” Ronnie Cox said following the game. “Any team on any given day can lose to any other team.”

Demopolis returned to the assault in the third inning when a Cox RBI grounder knocked in Etheridge. Geary, who had an inside-the-park home run Monday night, almost hit a second one when his triple scored Etheridge and made it 17-0. Geary stopped at third rather than running all the way home, providing Hagan Shannon and RBI when he stroked a double on the next play.

Linden scored its first run of the game in the third inning when Tate Jordan ripped a hit that scored Zelly Aldridge despite a tremendous defensive effort from Geary, the Demopolis catcher.

Up 18-1, Demopolis added to its lead in the fourth when Fuqua picked up an RBI that forced Patterson home. Malone then hit a single that plated Fuqua. Demopolis moved the lead to 22-1 when Cox hit a double to score Etheridge and Evans. Geary then hit a double to send Cox home and round out the Demopolis scoring.

With a handful of players aged seven or less, Linden put together its own rally to end the game. In the bottom of the fourth, Jake Jacobs scored on an Ethan Biggs hit. Holden Walker then scored a run a base knock by Aldridge. Cooper Dixon’s triple scored Dewoyne Charleston and Aldridge, cutting the scored to 23-5.

Dixon scored the final run of the game when Joshua Williams hustled down the line on a ground ball, earning a safe call when the Demopolis first baseman’s foot came off the bag and extended the game one more batter.

Despite that error, Demopolis displayed stellar defense during the first two days of the tournament. On one outstanding play, Turberville fielded a sharp grounder at third, looked Linden runner back to the bag at second and then fired to first for the out. A routine play at higher levels, the heads-up defense is scarce in 8U play.

“They’re playing great,” Cox said. “They are playing heads-up baseball. They are doing everything we’re asking them to do.”

As his team moves forward in the bracket, Cox said he hopes the Demopolis players continue to focus on fundamentals.

“We just want to play fundamental baseball,” Cox said. “The score will take care of itself.”

The Demopolis team will host Greensboro Wednesday night before traveling to Livingston Thursday evening. Both games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.