Sixth inning hit sends Smiths Station to Dixie World Series
After hitting a line drive in the Dixie Youth Majors State Tournament title game, Smiths Station’s Garrett Bottoms said it took five minutes to run halfway between home plate and first base.
The winning run on third, bottom of the sixth, state title on the line, tough opposition. Time, for Bottoms, stood still.
But he could have kept on running. Right to Louisiana.
Bottoms’ RBI single scored John Dunnivan and sent Smiths Station to the Dixie Youth Majors World Series in Gonzales, La. with a 7-6 win over Alexandria.
Head coach Jason Sinquefield said he just told Bottoms to put the ball in play.
“He can do it,” said Sinquefield. “Offensively, he had couple of good at-bats early on. He got a line drive down the right center gap the first time at-bat and then hit one good down the right field line.”
Smiths Station was the only team to emerge unbeaten out of the 12 teams playing, going 6-0 in the tournament that started last Saturday in Greenville. Thursday’s win was the second for Smiths Station over Alexandria, having previously faced them on Tuesday. Smiths Station won then 5-0.
“Every game it was another kid stepping up,” said Sinquefield. “We don’t have that big superstar that’s good every at-bat. But the whole team contributes.”
Alexandria does have a superstar, or at least a budding one. Shortstop Cody Parker launched a homerun his initial at-bat in the first inning. Alexandria scored two more runs to take a 3-0 lead.
“He’s (Parker) a man,” said Sinquefield. “I knew going in they were going to be the team to beat. I told our kids to keep battling because I knew we could put some runs on the board.”
Smiths Station did just that in the third inning. After scoring two runs, Dunnivan launched a grand slam over centerfield and Smiths Station led 6-3. Alexandria plated a run then C.J. Howell hit a two-run shot to tie the game at 6-6.
Howell’s hit broke the record for most homeruns in a Dixie Youth state tournament with 40 hit across 22 games.
Smiths Station pitcher Devin Brown retired the side in the sixth, setting up Bottoms’ late-game heroics. Dunnivan reached on a single and Bottoms’ rip down the third baseline scored his teammate.