Hopkins County Belles pitchers almost perfect

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

July 20, 2008 - For 4 1/2 innings Saturday morning, the Hopkins County Belles were on the brink of perfection in the Dixie State Tournament in an 11-0 win over Tri-County at Coleman Park.

Pitchers Candice Wilks and Courtney Salinas had a perfect game going until Tri-County's Suniga hit a triple in the top of the fifth inning but the runner was thrown out at the plate on the relay from left field for the first out of the inning. The Belles then ended the game on a pickoff at third for the final out.

Wilks was the winning pitcher as she went two innings allowing no hits while striking out one batter. Salinas came on in relief and allowed two hits, one walk and struck out six batters in three innings of work.

In the bottom of the first inning, Hopkins County shortstop Mia Debase scored the first run of the game as she came in on a wild pitch for the 1-0 lead.

In the second, HC added three more runs as Courtney Salinas, Haylee Chester and Hailey Dixon scored on three Tri-County wild pitches.

Hopkins County continued their strong play in the third inning, sending 10 batters to the plate as Ashley Bryant led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error by Tri-County.

The Belles scored four runs in the third inning as Courtney Dunlap scored on an RBI single by Haylee Chester, and Salinas and Chester scored on bases-loaded walks to Katie Stewart and Alex Darden for an 8-0 lead.

HC capped off the game with three more runs in the fourth inning as Ayana Taylor reached on a bunt single, went to second on an error and later scored on a wild pitch.

Mia Taylor scored on an RBI single by Ashley Bryant and then Bryant wrapped up the scoring on a wild pitch for the 11-0 lead.

Bryant led Hopkins County at the plate going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Ayana Taylor went 2-for-2 with a stolen base and a run scored.

The Belles will return to the field at 5 p.m. today on Field No. 1 and will play at 3 p.m. Sunday depending on the outcome of today's game.

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