|Only one unbeaten team left at Dixie World Series|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Aug. 2, 2006 - Even with its starting pitcher unavailable to throw on Tuesday, Hopkins County had all the pitching it would need. So did South Carolina.
In a battle of the last two unbeaten teams in the Dixie Angels World Series, South Carolina pushed across an unearned run in the fifth inning to take a 1-0 victory over Hopkins County at Coleman Park.
South Carolina remains the only undefeated team in the double-elimination tournament, which is down to four teams.
Hopkins County (2-1) will take on Tennessee (3-1) in a 6 p.m. match-up today. South Carolina (4-0) takes on Louisiana (3-1) in the 8 p.m. game. Tennessee edged Alabama, 6-5, on Tuesday, while Louisiana beat Florida, 12-3.
The loser between Hopkins County and Tennessee will be eliminated. If Louisiana loses, they will be eliminated. However, if Louisiana beats South Carolina, then three teams will have one loss each and one of the teams will get a bye into Thursday's championship game.
South Carolina 1, Hopkins County 0
Hopkins County couldn't pitch Kasey Moore because she had thrown a complete-game victory over Alabama on Sunday and by Dixie rules couldn't pitch the next game.
That wasn't a problem for Jaci Davis and Brandie McLane, though, as they combined to toss a one-hitter. Davis pitched the first two innings, allowing just one baserunner (a two-out, first-inning walk). McLane threw the final four innings, fanning eight batters and allowing just one hit.
The one run South Carolina scored was unearned.
It came in the fifth when Laura Reynolds broke up Hopkins County's no-hitter with a single to left center, and Brianna Chisolm followed one out later by reaching on an error. With two outs, Shelby Peters walked to load the bases. McLane then induced Taylor Hoff to hit an infield grounder, but the Hopkins County third baseman slipped while fielding the ball, and all runners were safe, including Reynolds at home plate.
That one run was enough as South Carolina brought in towering Michelle Pye to close the game in relief of Reynolds and Jaime McLaine. Pye allowed a walk in each of the final two innings, but also struck out four. Still, it was an outstanding defensive play that sealed the final out.
With two outs in the sixth inning and Haleigh Reppond at first via a walk, Hopkins County's Desiray Debase hit a pop fly toward the back of the infield that South Carolina shortstop McLaine and third baseman Chisolm both went after. McLaine caught the ball right before Chisolm collided with her - both players went to the ground, but McLaine held on to the catch for the game's final out.
Hopkins County had a couple of opportunities to score earlier in the game, but SC pitchers were able to work out of the jams. In the second inning, Hopkins County's Macy Johnston singled to right with one out, Davis walked, and McLane reached on an error to load the bases. But, a comebacker to the mound and a strikeout ended the threat.
Then, in the fourth, Katie Barnett reached on an error and Moore walked with one out, but two infield grounders ended the inning.
Hopkins County made a couple of fine defensive plays, also. Jaleigh Avery made a running catch of a pop up at second base to end the third, and third baseman Shakojah Debase made a shoe-top grab of a popped-up bunt attempt in the sixth.
Louisiana 12, Florida 3
Louisiana broke open a tight score by striking for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the game away.
The Bayou State led, 5-3, heading into the fifth, and then sent all 12 batters to the plate that inning to secure the victory.
Paige Dupuy started the inning with a single, and Leah Sulzer, Lindsey Berns, Kaitlyn LaMulle and Alexis Hanson had RBI hits before Kari Ousterhout drove in the final two runs with a single to right center.
Florida catcher Alexis Ferrera, who had tagged out the potential tying run in the Sunshine State's win over Virginia on Monday, had another tag-out at home plate against Louisiana on a relay throw from teammate Sabrina Russell.
Louisiana took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Danielle Lavigne's two-out single and Morgan Bounds' RBI grounder.
Florida, probably the best bunting team in the tournament, tied the game at 1-1 in the third on three consecutive bunts by Nicole Morolla, Raina Lemke and Allison Lucky.
Louisiana retook the upper hand, 3-1, in its half of the third on Lavigne's two-run single that drove in Ousterhout and Madison Horst. Sulzer followed with an RBI single.
Each team scored in the fourth on bases-loaded walks.
Tennessee 6, Alabama 5
With a trip to the final four on the line, the Tennessee faithful watched their girls come up with a late rally off Alabama pitcher Brooke Hubbard Tuesday night at J.B. Weld Field.
Tennessee scored the game-winner in the top of the sixth inning as Karlie Sorrentino opened the inning with a ground-out, followed by a single from Alex Stanford and a double by Ashton Needham, Erica Nall drove in Stanford with a sacrifice fly for the 6-5 lead.
Alabama held a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Hayliey Wofford and Brooke Hubbard had RBI singles driving in Krista Hubbard and Hollie Hallmark off starter Needham.
In the second inning, Alabama's Kacee Mashburn made a diving catch of a foul ball hit by Mady Kate Gantt as Haylee McDill could not advance on the play forcing the second out of the inning.
Tennessee found their offense in the top of the third inning as Mady Cox and Haley Whitney both singled and Jodi Duncan then rapped a two-run single to right field to tie the score at 2-2.
Karlie Sorrentino then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Stanford drove in Duncan to give Tennessee a 3-2 lead.
Alabama came back to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning as Krista Hubbard reached on an error and scored on a single by Hallmark for the 3-3 tie.
Both teams scored two runs in the fourth inning as Tennessee's Sarah Raygan Huffman opened the top of the inning with a walk followed by McDill's ground-out to first, Gantt then singled to right, followed by a single from Hadley Wilkins scoring Huffman. Gantt then scored on the throw-in to give Tennessee a 5-3 lead.
After back-to-back walks to Payton Golden and Caitlyn Childers, Tennessee reliever Stanford notched a strike out, but Bailey Nailor then rapped a single to left and Maddie Bruce nailed a two-run double to left field to tie the game at 5-5.
Brooke Hubbard pitched the complete game for Alabama and gave up 10 hits and three strikeouts in the loss. She also walked three batters.
Tennessee pitcher's Needham, Nall and Stanford combined to throw a seven-hitter in the circle. Stanford threw two scoreless innings.
Correction: Catelyn Williams was the starting pitcher for Mississippi Monday in their game against Alabama, not Courtney Hardy. Alabama edged Mississippi, 3-0, in eight innings.