Luverne All Stars head to Montgomery
The Luverne 11-12-year-old Dixie Youth baseball team bounced out longtime rivals, the Elba All Stars, in a 2-1 victory at E.L. Turner Park this week, sending Luverne to the state qualifying tournament in Montgomery tonight.
Last Friday night’s 2-1 win saw the Luverne squad revenge an early 7-5 loss to Elba, but it did not come without some sweat.
During the winning game, the first four innings were scoreless, but in the bottom of the fifth, Luverne broke the deadlock. Tate Tatom hit the ball between second base and shortstop for a lead-off single. Tatom scored the go-ahead run on a deep, two-out double by Uriah Brown to give Luverne a 1-0 lead.
But Elba came back to tie the score in the sixth inning when Clark Martin drove a fast ball to deep right field to score Logan Bailey. However, Luverne third baseman Hunter Weeks made the play of the game, bringing a halt to anymore Elba runs. With the ball rolling halfway up the first base line, Tatom took off after the ball leaving home base uncovered and with Clark Martin rounding third. Weeks quickly raced home to cover the plate as Martin advanced, putting a stop to a second Elba score.
Luverne pitcher Austin Odom struck out Curt Swell on three fastballs, putting Luverne up at bat with the 1-1 tie.
Luverne got the break they were looking for when Hunter Weeks was hit with a pitch and received a free trip to first base. With Cole Brightwell at the plate, Weeks then stole second base on a close call that brought the Elba coaching staff out of the dugout, but the call remained.
Luverne’s John Austin Motes became the hero of the game when he ripped a pitch over second base to drive in Weeks for the winning run, giving the Luverne All Stars a 2-1 victory.
The 11-12-year-old Sub 2 District 9 Dixie Youth All-Star Tournament got off to a soggy start as Monday’s games were pushed back to Tuesday. On that night, Luverne got off to a rousing start as they thumped the Kinston All Stars, 16-1.
The Luverne pitching trio of Trey Stewart, Kevonta May and Donta Hall combined to pull off a one-hit pitching performance. That, coupled with 12 runs in the second inning, helped to give Luverne the win.
Game Two saw a clash between Elba (1-0) and Luverne (1-0) Wednesday night. Elba jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead that gave them the distance they needed to grab a 7-5 win over Luverne.
But Luverne bounced back to take a 5-0 win over the New Brockton All Stars Thursday night to set up a rematch with Elba, who had lost a resounding 17-0 defeat to the Greenville All Stars.
On Saturday, July 11, the Greenville All Stars were just too powerful as they beat Luverne 11-3. Greenville went on to win the tournament with a 4-0 record, and will advance to the state tournament in Lincoln, Ala.
The Luverne All Stars will travel to Montgomery Thursday night, July 16, to play in the first round of the 11-12-year-old qualifying tournament. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at East Montgomery on Perry Hill Road. The opponent is yet to be determined.
This Luverne team is comprised of 12 players, seven of whom played on the 9-10-year-old All Stars that advanced to the state tournament last year in Clanton. These players are Tate Tatom, Britt Kelley, Kevonta May, Donta Hall, Hunter Weeks, Trey Stewart, and John Austin Motes.
The remainder of the team includes Austin Odom, Uriah Brown, Cole Brightwell, Austin Bryant, and LaBron Barber. Coaches for the Luverne All Stars are Andrew Tomlin, Don Hall and Michael Odom.