Darlings earn trip to World Series

From Staff Reports

July 18, 2008 - CROSBY - It took six games in a span of five days, but the Hopkins County American League All-Stars emerged from the Darlings State Tournament as Texas champions last weekend and will advance to the Dixie World Series in Pineville, La.

Hopkins County, coached by Laura Kosub Doughtie, Darryl Doughtie, Kevin Dixon and Amy Tanton, went through the double-elimination tournament with a 5-1 record, losing once to Liberty, but coming back to beat Liberty two consecutive times in the championship series to win the state title.

Game 1: HC 24, Tri-Cities 2

Hopkins County ended the game in four innings as every player had at least one hit. Defensively, third baseman Anden Hammack turned a double play and snagged another line drive, Jaye Doughtie had two fine catches and Anna Sapaugh also caught a line drive.

At the plate, Macee Hollins went 3-for-3 (two extra-base hits) with four RBI and three runs scored. Also with three hits were Maddie Millsap (two RBI, three runs) andValori Voorheese (two runs, three RBI). Hopkins County pounded out 23 hits and only committed one error.

Tri-Cities scored both of its runs in the first inning, then Hopkins County shut them down with three straight three-up, three-down innings.

Game 2: HC 22, Jacksonville 1

Hopkins County won another game stopped in the fourth inning due to the mercy rule. The local team had 20 hits and again committed just one error. Jacksonville had five hits and was charged with seven errors.

Offensive leaders were Doughtie, who had a home run and a double among her three hits and four RBI, Carson Folmar with three hits, two doubles and three RBI, Hollins with two hits and four runs batted in, Hammack with two hits and three RBI, and Millsap, Sadie Stroud and Autumn Tanton, who all had two hits.

The best defensive play came in the first inning when the Jacksonville clean-up hitter hit an RBI triple down the left field line, where it was fielded by Tanton. Tanton relayed the throw to Doughtie, who threw to Hollins at catcher, but the ball went off her glove. Folmar, though, was in position to retrieve the deflection and tag out the runner at the plate.

Game 3: Liberty 12, HC 2

In a match-up between the tournament's only unbeaten teams, Liberty turned several outstanding defensive plays to keep Hopkins County from gaining momentum.

Hopkins County scored its first run in the bottom half of the second when Folmar led off with a single and Tanton singled her in to make the score 5-1.

Liberty extended its lead to 7-1 before Hopkins County started a promising inning in the third when Allie Avery singled and Chase Charlton reached on an infield grounder. Charlton later scored on Doughtie's double to center, but that was all Liberty would allow.

Hopkins County had six hits and committed six errors.

Game 4: HC: 16, Crosby 4

In a semifinal elimination game, Hopkins County jumped out to an early lead to gain control of the contest.

Three of the first four batters reached to open the game, and the fifth batter, Hannah Dixon, added to the scoring with a three-run home run to left centerfield. Then, five batters later, Voorheese capped the inning with a two-run home run, scoring Hollins, as Hopkins County took a 6-0 lead.

After a two-run Crosby inning, Hopkins County answered with five more runs in the second as Doughtie hit a two-run triple and Dixon added an RBI triple. In the bottom of the inning, Sapaugh started a double play to end a potential Crosby rally.

Hopkins County ended its scoring with a two-out rally in the third started by Voorheese and ended with RBI hits by Avery, Charlton and Millsap.

Game 5: HC 11, Liberty 9

Hopkins County needed to beat Liberty two straight games, and that prospect seemed dim after Liberty had taken a 5-0 lead after three innings.

It was in the bottom of the fifth, with Liberty having two runners on and two outs that momentum finally turned Hopkins County's way when Tanton caught a drive to left field to end the inning.

Six outs away from elimination, Hopkins County's bats came alive when Millsap, Sapaugh and Doughtie all singled and Stroud brought them home with a three-run double. Dixon and Folmar reached on errors in front of Hammack's RBI single and Hollins' two-run triple to left field. Voorheese then doubled home the team's eighth run of the inning as Hopkins County took an 8-5 lead.

Hopkins County added three important runs in the top of the fifth on Doughtie's two-out, two-run double and Stroud's RBI single.

Those runs turned out to be the game winners when Liberty added four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Game 6: HC 8, Liberty 4

The Game 5 victory forced a winner-take-all Game 6 championship between the same two teams.

Hopkins County took an immediate advantage when Millsap reached on an error with one out in the first and Doughtie singled. Stroud then drove in both runners with a triple to left, and Dixon brought her home with a ground ball for a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, it appeared Liberty might answer, but with a runner on first, Dixon fielded a ground ball at second base, tagged the runner and threw to first to complete the double play.

In the second inning, Voorheese had a two-run single to make the score 5-0. Then, in the bottom half of the inning, outstanding defensive plays by Doughtie and Tanton kept Liberty off the board. Liberty did score one run in the third to make the score 5-1, but Hollins hammered a two-run homer to right to make the score 7-1 in the fourth.

Dixon then started her second double play of the game when she caught a line drive and threw to Folmar at first for the second out.

Hopkins County scored its final run on a Millsap RBI grounder. Liberty was able to score three runs in the bottom of the fifth, but defensive plays by Doughtie, Hammack and Dixon ended the threat.

The girls will travel to Pineville, La., on Aug. 2 for their first game against North Carolina in the 12-team, double-elimination tournament.

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