Pitching depth could be key for Demopolis 10U

Published 10:28 pm Friday, June 25, 2010

The Demopolis 10U Cal Ripken All-Star team heads into single-elimination play Saturday for a match-up with Butler.

Demopolis will enter the four-team bracket as the No. 2 seed, a remarkable accomplishment considering the team’s opening pool play game against Gilbertown. In that contest, Demopolis fell 14-1. Since then, Demopolis has beaten Linden 18-3, bested Greensboro 4-2 and mowed down Sumter County 35-1.

“We just had to get those nerves out, getting them playing together as a team,” Demopolis head coach Mark Crawford said.

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Butler, the No. 3 seed, is the only team Demopolis has yet to face in the draw. However, if the 10-year-olds from the City of the People hope to carry on toward their state tournament goals, they must first get by Butler in the elimination round.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 seed Gilbertown takes on No. 4 Greensboro. The winners of those two games will advance to the championship round Monday when the highest remaining seed will host a double-header. If the teams split Monday’s double dip, the decisive game will be played Tuesday evening at the home of the lowest remaining seed.

The scenario creates a potential for four games in as many days, a potentially daunting circumstance for such a young team.

“I’m not looking for our pitching depth to be a problem because we haven’t really used up our pitchers,” Crawford said. “We’ve got seven good pitchers on our team. So pitching is not really going to bother us.”

Pitching has been a bright spot over the last three games as Demopolis has allowed a total of six runs over that stretch.

“They started encouraging each other and started playing really well,” Crawford said.

Crawford said continued success for the team will come down maintaining focus on the basics.

We’ve got to keep swinging the bats on the offensive end and keep making the plays on the defensive end,” Crawford said.

Demopolis will play Butler in Toxey Saturday at 5 p.m.