Greenville baseball wins area

Published 1:05 pm Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things did not end quite as well as they began for Demopolis (11-11, 5-1) Friday night as they dropped the tie-breaker game to area foe Greenville 5-3. The loss, which followed an 8-2 region win, effectively hands Greenville the area championship and a right to host its first round playoff series after Demopolis fell to GHS 6-5 Thursday evening.

Demopolis de facto area title game started with Ben Pettus on the hill, just moments after the senior was recognized alongside classmates Chase Cameron, Bill Holemon and Allen Tucker as part of the team’s senior night festivities.

Pettus worked five strong innings on the mound for the homestanding Tigers, scattering five hits and a walk while surrendering two runs and striking out four.

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He turned over phe pitching duties in a tie ball game after his team scored a run in each of the first two innings of the game.

Demopolis opened the scoring in the home half of the first when Alex Sturdivant ripped an RBI double that plated Holemon.

Demopolis added to its advantage in the second inning when Kole Thrasher hit and RBI single to send William Stewart home.

Greenville answered in the fourth inning when Ozell Carter hit a two-out single that scored Nick Davis and Raymond Moody.

After Demopolis left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, Pettus worked himself around a leadoff single in the top of the fifth by inducing a chopper back to the mound that he quickly turned into a 1-4-3 double play. Pettus complemented the twofer with a strikeout to end the Greenville chance.

The double play ball was the second of the game for the Demopolis defense, which saw Pettus dive off the mound and catch a bunt attempt on the fly near the third baseline before throwing to second to double off a Greenville runner. The play ended the black and gold threat in the top of the third to keep Demopolis in front.

Once Pettus got his team off the hook in the fifth, Demopolis needed only one swing of the bat to recapture the lead.

Sturdivant stroked a single to right-center to set the table in the Demopolis half of the fifth. He then stole second base on a pitch in the dirt, in the process inducing an errant throw from the GHS catcher that allowed him to round third and streak across home plate for the 3-2 Demopolis lead.

The advantage proved short-lived as a pair of sixth-inning errors put runners at second and third for Greenville before a routine 6-4 grounder allowed the tying run to score.

Demopolis had its chance again in the bottom of the sixth when Taylor Polk smoked a double off the left field wall with one out. Thrasher and Holemon soon drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs before Demopolis failed to convert on the scoring opportunity.

Moody held the Tigers at bay one final time before handing the ball over for the seventh inning. He worked six frames, striking out nine in the process.

Greenville broke the deadlock in the seventh, capitalizing on a trio of errors and a wild pitch with a Jay Johnson RBI single to take the lead. Greenville added another run to extend its lead to two.

Demopolis stranded the potential tying runs in the bottom of the seventh to watch its final opportunity go by and Greenville walk off the field with its area crown.

The loss came on the heels of an 8-2 win that saw Stewart pitch the full seven innings while striking out four batters. Stewart helped his own cause in the game with a solo home run.

Pettus went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs in the opener. Thrasher was 1-for-3 with a walk. Holemon walked and was hit by a pitch. Sturdivant was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Cameron walked and scored. Tucker went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBIs, two runs and a walk. Demopolis scored in each of the six innings it stepped to the plate in the game.

Greenville got its offense from Johnson and Tijun Rudolph, who each doubled and scored in the third inning.