Long wait for state finally over for Brewton 9-10s
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Please excuse the players on the Brewton Little League Age 9-10-year-old All-Stars if they do not remember the last time their age level reached the state tournament. That would be easy to understand since none of them had been born yet when that occurred in 1989.
That long dry spell ended Sunday when Brewton captured the district championship at Opp when it defeated the host town 5-3.
The victory capped off a long, hard road to the championship for Brewton, which fell in the opening round to East Brewton and then reeled off five straight victories in the losers bracket to nab the crown.
"Our kids played their hearts out. They had a tough road going through the losers bracket, but they never gave up. I'm really proud of them," Brewton coach Randy Denton said.
Brewton had just three hits in Sunday's championship game, but it scratched out just enough offense to back up a stellar pitching performance by Conner Denton.
Brewton led from start to finish after it scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning without the aid of a hit. Louis Miller and Collin Graves both drew walks to start the game. After Denton hit into a fielder's choice, a throwing error allowed Miller to score. Parker Reiss followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Graves to make it 2-0.
Brewton doubled that cushion to 4-0 in the third inning. Collin Langford with a single, which was Brewton's first hit. Miller walked, but Graves hit into a fielder's choice. Denton reached safely on an infield error, but that allowed Langford to score. Reiss followed with an RBI groundout.
Meanwhile on the mound Denton was nearly unhittable early on, as he had a perfect game going through three innings.
An error ended Denton's perfect game at the start of the fourth inning. A double by Opp's Hunter Weeks then ended both the no-hitter and the shutout. An RBI single by Tyler Roeser cut the lead in half to 4-2.
Brewton picked up a key insurance run in the top of the sixth inning when Wesley Maddox walked, moved up a base on a wild pitch and scored an infield single by Kameron Winn to make it 5-2.
That proved to be even bigger when a one-out triple, an RBI groundout and a single cut the lead to 5-3 and brought the tying run to the plate when Denton got Roeser to ground out to end the game.
"We didn't get a lot of hits, but we put the ball in play. It really helped when we got a couple of runs in the top of the first inning to set the tone for the game," Denton said.
Opp missed its first opportunity to close out the tournament championship Saturday when Brewton stayed alive with a 6-4 victory.
Parker Reiss scattered seven hits in a complete game effort, but the real key for Reiss' success was he did not walk any batters. Brewton's defense also did not make an error.
"Those were probably the two biggest keys in that win. So often walks at this age level usually turn into doubles and triples and Parker didn't have any. He threw strikes, they put the ball in play and our defense made the plays," Denton said.
Brewton got off to a good start with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Louis Miller reached on an error, Collin Graves and Conner Denton both singled and Reiss had an RBI fielder's choice to produce the runs.
Opp got those two runs back in the third inning to pull even, but Brewton took control of the game with a four-run fourth inning to go up 6-2.
Wesley Maddox singled and Randy Davis and Tyler Etheridge were both struck by a pitch. After Miller hit into a fielder's choice, Graves singled and both Denton and Reiss reached on errors to get two more runs across.
Opp got two final runs in the fifth, but got no closer.
Opp 002 020 – 4 7 3
Brewton 200 40X – 6 5 0
Brewton 202 001 – 5 3 1
Opp 000 201 – 3 4 3
NOTE: Brewton will open up state tournament play Saturday at Mobile's Cottage Hill Park with a 7:30 p.m. game against the Choctaw County district winner.
If Brewton wins that game, it would advance to Sunday's second round for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
A loss Saturday would send Brewton to Monday's elimination bracket where it will play at 7:30 p.m.