Franklin County Debs in charitable mood; Hopkins County wins opener, 14-4
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor
July 20, 2008 - Hopkins County and Franklin County both were in charitable moods to start their opening game of the Dixie Debs State Tournament at Coleman Park on Friday night.
Hopkins County got stingier as the game wore on, though, while Franklin County just kept on giving.
Both teams scored multiple unearned runs in the first inning, then Hopkins County broke open a close game when they took advantage of one hit batter and nine consecutive walks in the seventh to put the game away, 14-4.
Hopkins County led 7-4 heading into the final inning, but Franklin County brought in two new pitchers who combined to retire just one batter (the other two outs were recorded on the basepaths) as Hopkins County took a step forward in the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
They were scheduled to play against at 11 a.m. Saturday against Denison, an 8-5 winner over Coldspring in the opening round. The winner of that game will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Hopkins County never trailed in the game, scoring three runs in the top of the first on singles by Cayla Newkirk and JaMonica Hall sandwiched around a walk to Lindsey Lemon. Haley Stovall then hit an infield grounder, and when the shortstop's throw went into right field, all three runners crossed home plate.
However, Hopkins County gave two of the runs back when they committed two errors combined with a double from Autumn Romine and singles from Holly Bynum and JaKayla Rogers.
Hopkins County added a run in each of the next two innings to take a 5-2 advantage. In the second, Katie Bone walked and scored on Ashley Wilburn's single to right field. Then, in the third, Newkirk - who reached base in three of her four plate appearances - walked, went to third on Lemon's double to left, and scored when Kendyl Barrett successfully pushed a suicide squeeze up the first base line.
Franklin County came back with a pair of runs in the fourth off Barrett, who came in to relieve Hall who pitched the first three innings. Rogers doubled hard to center with one out and scored on Katon Trantham's RBI grounder. Amber Sparks then singled with one out and came around on Amberly Alpha's triple to right.
Hopkins County answered with a pair of runs in the sixth as Barrett reached on a wild pitch after a strikeout and Breanna Mills singled. They both came around when Hall laced a double to the left field gap.
Then, Hopkins County put the game away with a steady parade of bases-loaded walks to Masie Luna, Newkirk, Lemon and Mills.
For Hopkins County, Hall picked up the win by fanning four and giving up three hits and one earned run in three innings. Barrett pitched two innings, then Lemon came in for the final two frames, striking out four and walking one while giving up two hits and no runs.
Hall had a pair of hits to lead Hopkins County, and also made the game's highlight defensive play at shortstop. In the sixth inning, she made a running catch in shallow left field with her back to the infield to short-circuit a potential Franklin County rally. Lemon and Newkirk each had one hit and two walks.
For Franklin County, Rogers was the top hitter, going 3-for-3, while Romine and Bynum each had a pair of hits.