|Hopkins County ousted from World Series; South Carolina-Tennessee playing for title tonight|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Aug. 3, 2006 - The Hopkins County Angels didn't need to watch a replay of their game on Tuesday. They saw it on the field again on Wednesday.
A day after being edged by South Carolina 1-0, Hopkins County suffered through a similar script in a 2-0 loss to Tennessee in the semifinals of the Dixie Angels World Series on Wednesday.
The local team, which finished in the top four, again received an outstanding pitching performance from Jaci Davis, but couldn't come up with a run-scoring hit.
The win by Tennessee sends the Volunteer State on to the tournament championship on Thursday against South Carolina, which beat Louisiana, 4-3, in the bottom of the sixth inning in the other semifinal on Wednesday.
The two teams will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Coleman Park. If South Carolina (5-0) wins, they are the World Series champs, but if Tennessee (4-1) wins, then there will be a deciding game at 8:30 p.m. to determine the champion.
Hopkins County lost to both of the teams in the finals on consecutive days, and had chances to win both times.
The local team's best opportunity came in the top of the fifth inning. Tennessee had scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth when Jodi Duncan's base hit up the middle got all the way to the fence, and she scored on a throwing error.
Hopkins County came back in the fifth with three consecutive singles to right field by Kasey Moore, Jaleigh Avery and Macy Johnston to load the bases with no outs. But, Duncan - who pitched a complete-game five-hitter for Tennessee - wriggled out of the jam by inducing three consecutive ground balls right back to her in the circle. Each time, she came home to force out the lead runner and keep Hopkins County scoreless.
Tennessee then added another run in the sixth when Ashton Needham led off the inning with a double to left and scored on Haylee McDill's infield single. Hopkins County shortstop Desiray Debase kept another runner from reaching base when she made a lunging catch of a pop up down the left field line.
Hopkins County had one final chance in the top of the sixth, and Chaliyah Moore got things rolling with a lead-off single to left. Sarah Rost then worked a full-count walk with one out, but Duncan got a strikeout and ground ball out to close the game.
Hopkins County had chances early in the game, but Tennessee came up with the defensive plays to keep them scoreless. In the first, Kasey Moore walked and Avery, who had two hits in the game, singled to left, but Moore was thrown out trying to advance to third. Then, in the third, Chaliyah Moore, who also had two singles, reached first to lead off the inning, and Rost hit a line drive up the middle, but Duncan snagged the ball and turned it into a double play.
In the circle, Davis pitched very well. She allowed just four hits while striking out five and walking just one. Besides the run-scoring hits, the only other one she allowed was to Sarah Raygan Huffman with two outs in the second, and Huffman was later tagged out at third by Shakojah Debase.
South Carolina 4, Louisiana 3
The word about the Louisiana team was that the Cajuns never stop scrapping. Neither does South Carolina.
Louisiana, down 2-0 going into the fifth inning, tied the game in the fifth only to have South Carolina take a 3-2 lead going into the sixth. Louisiana tied the game again, but South Carolina pushed across the winning run in their final at-bat.
South Carolina took an initial 2-0 lead in the first inning as Michelle Pye drove a two-run triple to right center field, scoring Canyon Crosby (walk) and Laura Reynolds (error). Pye was cut down at the plate on a relay throw from shortstop Danielle Lavigne to catcher Kaylee Weaver.
South Carolina pitchers Reynolds and Jaime McLaine kept the score at 2-0 until the top of the fifth when Louisiana tied it by loading the bases with three walks issued to Leah Sulzer, Erica Yeager and Lindsey Berns. Kaitlyn LaMulle then singled sharply to left, scoring both Sulzer and Yeager to tie the game at 2-2.
South Carolina untied it in the bottom of the sixth. Taylor Hoff reached on an error, then came home on an errant throw following Shantavia Holmes' single. Louisiana's Lavigne, who pitched the final four innings, worked out of any more trouble with two consecutive strikeouts.
That gave Louisiana the opportunity to tie the game in the top of the sixth, and they did it. With two outs, Paige Dupuy walked and went to third on Madison Horst's single. She then scored on Lavigne's infield bouncer that hopped over the leaping glove of McLaine, the pitcher.
With the score tied at 3-3, South Carolina wasted little time in scoring the winning run in their final at-bat. Canyon Crosby walked with one out, then Reynolds singled up the middle to move Crosby to second. Pye then had her third hit of the game to left field, and Crosby was able to race all the way around to home to end the game.
McLaine earned the win for South Carolina, pitching 3 2/3 innings, striking out five and allowing one run on four hits.