14-year olds finish third in Alabama Babe Ruth
By By Scott Cooper- Sports reporter
Expectations were high for the District 7 and Area 2 title-holding 14-year-old Brewton All-Stars as they entered play in the Babe Ruth state tournament in Huntsville.
After dropping their opening-round game, however, the 14-year-old All-Stars were presented the challenge of having to advance through the loser's bracket of the competition. But, an ensuing blowout win in the second round regained some positive momentum as the Brewton All-Stars set their sights on advancing further into the tournament.
Brewton 9, South Huntsville 2
The 14-year-old All-Stars made certain a July 12 third-round rematch with South Huntsville had a different ending than the opening-game matchup that saw Brewton come up short, 6-4.
Jumping all over South Huntsville from the outset, Brewton built a 4-0 lead after two innings before stretching the early advantage into a 9-2 win.
Brewton's batters came to the plate in the top of the first determined to make something happen. Mackie Jackson doubled to begin the game, and then moved to third on Becker Denton's single. Baxley Raines followed by reaching on an error, sending Jackson across the plate for the game's first run. Another run came home later in the inning on a passed ball for a 2-0 Brewton lead.
In the top of the second, Bracken Davis and Kendall Land reached on an error and walk, respectively, before Baxley Raines brought both home with a double that cushioned the lead to 4-0.
South Huntsville got on the board with a solo home run in the top of the fourth, but Jared Cooper retaliated with a top-of-the-fifth round-tripper that regained Brewton's four-run cushion at 5-1.
After South Huntsville manufactured a run in the bottom of the fourth to cut Brewton's leading margin to 5-2, the Brewton All-Stars responded with a fury in their next at bat.
The sixth-inning scoring barrage began with a Land walk. After the next two Brewton batters were retired, the Brewton offense proceeded to score four runs that put the game away.
Following a Raines single up the middle and a Cooper walk, the bases were loaded when Travis Holland's walk allowed a run to come in. Allen Williams then stepped to the plate and delivered a lethal three-RBI triple that pushed the advantage out to a commanding level, 9-2.
From there, Brewton starting pitcher Williams struck-out three batters in the bottom of the sixth before a 3-up, 3-down bottom of the seventh polished-off the win while keeping Brewton's tournament hopes alive.
Allen Williams allowed only five hits while striking-out four batters in a complete-game win.
Leaders at the plate for Brewton were Williams, 2-for-4 with three RBIs; Baxley Raines, 2-for-4 with three RBIs; Jared Cooper, 1-for-2 with one RBI; Tanner Shehan, 1-for-3 and Travis Holland, 1-for-3.
West Mobile 5, Brewton 4
Well aware that a July 13 victory over West Mobile would earn them a shot at eventual tournament winner Etowah County, the Brewton All-Stars battled tooth-and-nail before falling just short in extra innings.
In the top of the first inning, Brewton wasted little time mounting a rally that appeared certain would produce a big inning.
Mackie Jackson reached on an error before moving to second on Becker Denton's fielder's choice. Baxley Raines continued the offensive charge with a single, and then stole second base. After Jared Cooper's walk, Brewton had the bases loaded with only one out. However, all three baserunners were left stranded as the West Mobile pitcher struck-out the next two batters to end the early Brewton threat.
West Mobile drew first blood in the bottom half of the inning, scoring a run on two base hits for a 1-0 lead.
Following a top-of-the-second inning in which the Brewton batters were sat down in order, West Mobile took a 2-0 lead with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning.
Brewton kept pace with a run in the top of the third. Consecutive singles by Jackson and Denton got things off to a good start. After a Raines fielder's choice and a Cooper walk, Travis Holland came through with a fielder's choice RBI that reduced the deficit to 2-1.
With Jackson controlling the West Mobile offense over the next two innings, the score remained unchanged as Brewton came to bat in the top half of the sixth.
A Holland walk was followed by consecutive singles off the bats of Allen Williams and Tanner Shehan. Nykeem Barton then came to bat and narrowly missed clearing the centerfield fence with a sacrifice fly that tied the game, 2-2. Justin Gomez finished the rally with a pinch-hit RBI single that pushed Brewton out front, 3-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, West Mobile proved their resolve to fight back. A two-out double was the catalyst of a comeback that ended with two runners crossing the plate for a 4-3 West Mobile lead.
With one out in Brewton's top-of-the-seventh plate appearance, Raines evened the score with a dramatic solo home run to left field that once again knotted the contest, 4-4.
After Jackson sat-down the West Mobile offense in the bottom of the seventh, the two teams headed into extra innings.
Although not producing a hit in the top of the eighth, Brewton took advantage of a walk and a fielder's choice to move a runner in scoring position at second base with two outs. However, West Mobile came through with a clutch defensive play when Brewton's attempt to advance the runner was shot-down by a putout at third base.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, West Mobile began a rally that ended the game. An infield single was followed by a stolen base.
Then, an RBI base hit brought the runner home, giving West Mobile a 5-4 victory and ending Brewton's hopes for a shot at the title.
Offensive leaders for Brewton were Justin Gomez, 1-for-1 with one RBI; Baxley Raines, 2-for-4 with one RBI; Jared Cooper, 1-for-2; Allen Williams, 1-for-3; Tanner Shehan, 1-for-3; Travis Holland, one RBI and Nykeem Barton, one RBI.