Meridian 13-year-olds have good opening
By By Will Bardwell & Austin Bishop/staff writers
July 10, 2004
The first day was certainly a good one for the Meridian All-Stars in the Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old State Tournament at Q.V. Sykes Park on Friday.
Meridian rolled to an 8-1 win over Helena in the opener and then used an 11-run inning in the second game to take a 13-1 win over Corinth.
Meridian faces Orange Grove, which also won two games on Friday, at 3 p.m. today in the winners' bracket finals of the six-team, double-elimination tournament.
Orange Grove opened Friday's action with a 5-1 win Columbus, before nipping Jeff Davis County 8-7 in a thriller. Today's action begins with a 9 a.m. elimination game between Helena and Jeff Davis County, while Columbus and Corinth face-off in the second elimination game at noon.
The winners of the two elimination games play at 6 p.m. today.
Meridian head coach Donovan Hughes knew pitching would have to hold up if his Meridian 13-year-old All-Stars were to stand a chance in the statewide Babe Ruth Tournament.
On Friday, pitching dominated.
Meridian held Helena scoreless until the last play of the game and ran away with an 8-1 win in the team's tourney opener.
Meridian jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Brock Hughes and Kenny Roberts scored, but Helena pitching settled down and held Meridian scoreless for the next three innings.
Helena threatened to break out in the top of the fifth, when Justin Parker drew a walk to load the bases.
Bryce Branning, who went 2-for-3 from the plate, came in to pitch for Meridian and got his team out of the jam. Branning induced a pop-up to shallow center field, and a Helena baserunner was cut down after getting caught up between second and third.
Minutes later, Branning doubled Meridian's lead in the bottom of the fifth with a two-RBI double that scored Hughes and Michael Evans.
Meridian added four more runs in the sixth, three of which scored on Helena errors.
In the top of the seventh, Matt Faggard came across for Helena's only run of the game just moments before a Helena baserunner was cut down at third base for the game's final out.
Meridian sent 15 batters to the plate in the third inning to break open a tight 2-1 game.
Two of the first three batters got out to open the inning for Meridian, but the local all-stars managed to load the bases with walks.
Corinth went to the bullpen and Meridian scored three runs on a wild pitch and another on a single by Dallas Hannah to go ahead 6-1. Kenny Roberts singles in one run, then Miller cleared the bases with a three-run double into the left-center field gap.
Darren Farmer singled in Miller, then McAlister blasted a double to score Farmer.
Miller was the winning pitcher for Meridian.
Orange Grove 5
Orange Grove scored three runs in the third and single runs in the second and fifth to take the win.
Matthew Hughes ripped a double and two singles to lead Orange Grove to the opening win. Kris Colvin had a double for Columbus.
Orange Grove 8
Jeff Davis 7
Orange Grove scored six runs in the top of the first and then held off a late Jeff Davis rally to take the win.
Matthew Hughes had a double and two singles for the winners, while Ramero Keller had two singles and a double for Jeff Davis.