Brewton 13s roll to district championship
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Like most All-Star coaches, Brewton Babe Ruth 13-year-olds coach Bob DeFrancisco was not sure what his teams chances were when the District 7 Tournament started.
"You really don't know what you have until you play a game or two," DeFrancisco said.
DeFrancisco now has a much better idea of what kind of a team he has and that feeling is a good one after Brewton claimed the district championship on its home turf Sunday with an 11-5 win over Monroeville.
"I had some questions about our ability to hit, but I felt we had pretty good speed and could cause some problems with our bunting game and on the bases. I also thought we had some capable pitchers," DeFrancisco said.
Sunday's victory over Monroeville was Brewton's second of the tournament. Brewton notched an 8-4 win in Saturday's opening round matchup.
"We knew we had the safety net position of where they had to beat us twice and I saved Corey Williams back to pitch Monday if we had to play another game. When you're in this position though, it's always good to finish things off in that first game," DeFrancisco said.
Monroeville, which stayed alive with a 14-0 win over Atmore in an elimination game played earlier Sunday, looked as if it might be able to force a second championship game when it jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening frame on a two-run double by Neil Hudson.
That advantage did not hold up for long, as Brewton took the lead for good when it rallied for four runs in the top of the second inning.
Jamar Travis walked, moved over to third base on two wild pitches and scored on a groundout by Jacob Cannon that cut Monroeville's lead in half. John Mathieu followed with a single. An error and two wild pitches allowed him to score the tying run.
Evan Burkett singled and scored when Grant DeFrancisco's flyball into leftfield was dropped to put Brewton up 3-2. DeFrancisco scored one batter later on Mabry Cook's groundout to make it 4-2.
Brewton extended that lead to 5-2 in the top of the third inning when Cannon reached on an error. He eventually scored when Mathieu struck out, but reached safely on a wild pitch. Cannon beat the throw into home plate, but suffered a broken bone in his leg on the play.
An RBI single by Hudson in the bottom of the third inning cut the gap to 5-3, but an RBI double by Williams scored Cook in the top of the fourth inning to make it 6-3.
A key moment in the game occurred in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hudson delivered the third of his four RBI hits, this one a single that made it 6-4. Monroeville had the tying runs on base when Brewton reliever and winning hurler Sam Sharpe struck out Deke Bettis to preserve the lead.
"That may have been the biggest moment of the game. If they get a hit in that situation, the game is probably tied and who knows what would have happened from that point on," DeFrancisco said.
The teams traded runs in the sixth inning. An RBI groundout by Williams in the top half of the frame scored Mikey Roye to make it 7-4. Hudson's fourth hit of the game, an RBI double, made it 7-5 in the bottom of the inning and chased Sharpe from the mound.
Justin Payne issued a walk to the first batter he faced, but then retred the final four Monroeville batters he faced.
Brewton pretty much wrapped up its tournament championship in the top of the seventh inning when four insurance runs made it 11-5. Garrett Robinson had the key hit of the inning, an RBI single. Two runs scored on wild pitches and another scored on an error.
"Sam Sharpe's pitching was a big key for us. He gave us a big lift while he was on the mound (four and two-thirds innings)," DeFrancisco said.
Brewton 9, Atmore 8
Brewton secured its berth in the championship game Saturday with a pivotal 9-8 win over Atmore.
Brewton raced out to what seemed to be a fairly safe 8-1 lead through five innings only to see Atmore rally with five runs in the sixth and two more in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 8-8.
The game appeared to be headed towards extra innings when the first two Brewton batters were retired in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Jamar Travis changed the complexion of the inning though when he legged out a triple. One pitch later Travis scored the winning run on a passed ball.
"Normally it doesn't make that much difference whether you're on second or third with two out. It usually still takes a hit. By getting to third on his hit, it set up the possibility to score through a wild pitch or a passed ball and that is what happened," DeFrancisco said.
Brewton built a 5-0 lead over the first three innings. Singles by John Mathieu and Corey Williams set up an RBI groundout by Houston Simmons in the first inning. Evan Burkett drove in Travis with a single in the second inning. Singles by Mathieu and Travis and doubles by Williams and Simmons led to three more runs in the third inning.
After Atmore got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth inning, Brewton's offense went back to work. Mathieu drove in Burkett with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 6-1. Cannon and Cook both singled and scored in the fifth inning to make it 8-1.
"I think we relaxed a little bit too much when we got the big lead. We thought it was over," DeFrancisco said.
Justin Payne worked the final one and two-thirds innings to get the win although starter Corey Williams fanned nine and allowed only five hits in his five and one-third innings of work.
Brewton will enter area play Friday at the Atmore Babe Ruth Park at 5:30 p.m. where it will take on Covington County. Andalusia battles Atmore at 7:30 p.m.
Atmore 000 105 2 – 8 11 3
Brewton 113 120 1 – 9 11 4
Brewton 041 101 4 – 11 8 2
Monroeville 201 101 0 – 5 10 6