Major league tournament in full swing
By By Michale Hill
First National Bank Athletics 14,
Church's Chicken Twins 9
Monday saw the start of the city tournament for the major and minor leagues. The fifth-seeded Athletics climbed into the winner's bracket after upsetting the Twins, the 4-seed.
The A's broke out on top with four in the top of the first, and the Twins got one back in the bottom half. Two in the top of the second gave the A's a 6-1 lead, but the Twins rallied for five in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
One run in the fourth gave the 7-6 advantage to the Twins, but they couldn't hold it. The A's scored two in the fifth and four in the sixth to ice the game.
Calvin Hartley scored three times for the Twins, and Joseph Drew smacked a 2-run homer in the second.
The A's were led by the bat of John Brantley, who went 4-4 with a triple, three singles and a walk and scored five runs. Blake Pearson scored three runs.
United Bank Warriors 10,
Rotary Club Tigers 9
The second game of the city tournament was also the second upset of the tournament, a 10-9 win by the sixth-seeded Warriors over the 3-seed, the Tigers.
Darruis English clobbered a two-run homer to give the Warriors the lead at 5-0 after the top of the second. The Tigers scraped together two runs in the bottom half. In the top of the third, the Warriors went ahead 6-2, but the Tigers responded with four runs, thanks partly to a Brannon Sanspree triple, to even the game at 6-6.
The Warriors scored two in the fourth to the Tigers' one run to go ahead 8-7. After going up 9-7 in the top of the fifth, the Tigers' Blake Walker smoked a two-run triple to tie the game at 9-9, setting up the last-inning drama.
Guyel Martin laced a hit into the outfield that he legged out for a triple. Martin was able to take home on a passed ball to give the lead to the Warriors at 10-9. In the bottom of the inning, English, pitching in relief of Charles Dailey, struck out the first batter but gave up a single to Corey Flowers. Flowers was advanced to third, and with two outs, the Tigers' biggest offensive threat, Chris Andrews, came to the plate with the chance to be a hero. But Andrews was unable to come through this time, and flied out to give the Warriors the win.
Dailey and English combined for 13 K's in the game for the Warriors. Michael McAnally and Sanspree combined to strikeout 10 Warriors.
Four players scored four runs apiece for the Warriors: Dustin Hall, Skylar Rolin, English and Martin. Robert Howard, McAnally and Sanspree each scored three times for the Tigers.
Lion's Club Cardinals 7,
First National Bank Athletics 6
In game No. 3 of the city tournament, the second-seeded Cards escaped the fifth-seeded Athletics, banishing the A's to the loser's bracket with a last-inning comeback victory.
After two innings, the A's led 2-0. The Cards scored four in the third to go ahead 4-2, but would not score again until the sixth inning. The A's, however, scored once in the fourth and three times in the fifth to take a 6-4 advantage into the bottom of the sixth.
In the sixth with one out gone, Chris Graham started the rally with a triple and scored via Bruce Smith's follow-up single. Kevin Chason drew a walk, and Ryan Chason advanced the runners with a groundout.
So with runners on second and third, two outs gone and trailing 6-5, Cody Norton stepped into the batter's box. No problem. Norton smoked a hit to the outfield and Kevin Chason raced home for the win.
Seven different players scored the seven runs for the Cardinals. Graham led the Cards at the plate, going 3-3 with two triples and a double.
Hunter Milliken went 2-3 at the plate and scored two times for the A's.
United Bank Warriors 6,
Atmore Insurance Braves 3
In game No. 4, the tournament saw its first real upset as the 6-seed took down the 1-seed, forcing the Braves into an elimination game against the Twins on Thursday.
The Braves put two on the board in the bottom of the second and one in the third, but Warriors' pitchers Charles Dailey and Skylar Rolin combined to shut them down thereafter.
Down 3-1 heading to the top of the fifth, the Warrior bats had been effectively neutralized by Braves' hurler Brandon Arnold. But the Warriors broke out of their daze and hit Arnold and his relief Kyle Kirby for five runs in the inning to take the lead for good.
Miller McCaster, Anthony Matthews and Brian Johnson each scored for the Braves.
Darrius English led the Warrior scoring with two runs.
The Warriors will square off with the second-seeded Cardinals on Monday, while the Braves will play the Twins in an elimination game.
Atmore Insurance Braves 8,
Church's Chicken Twins 7
Game No. 5 of the city tournament saw the first-seeded Braves eliminate the fourth-seeded Twins in a hotly contested battle.
Pitching was the Twins' achilles heel, despite Brandon Moore and Calvin Hartley combining for 12 strikeouts. The pitchers threw five wild pitches while the catcher allowed three passed balls.
Thanks to those errors, the Braves scored three in the first, one in the second and third innings, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
The Twins scored once in the first inning, three times in the second, once again in the fourth and twice in the sixth.
With the Braves ahead 7-5 after five innings, the Twins scored two runs in the top of the sixth with the tying run coming on a Braves' passed ball.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ben Hess scored the winning run on a wild pitch, staving off elimination for his top-seeded team. The Twins were not so fortunate, playing two games in the tourney and losing both.
Miller McCaster scored three runs for the Braves while Brian Johnson scored twice. McCaster went 3-3 on the day with two stolen bases.
Moore helped himself at the plate as much as he could, going 3-4 and scoring two runs.
Rotary Club Tigers 15,
First National Bank Athletics 4
The third-seeded Tigers played like they were madder than hornets about being upset by the sixth-seeded Warriors in the first round, and they took out their anger on the fifth-seeded Athletics. The A's were bounced from the tournament with the loss, while the Tigers will play host to the Braves on Monday.
While the A's went scoreless for the first two innings, the Tigers scored three in the bottom of the first before blowing up for eight in the second. The A's scored two in the third and one in the fourth and fifth, and the Tigers scored four more in the fourth inning.
Michael McAnally and Brannon Sanspree totaled eight K's between them.
Every Tiger scored, led by Corey Flowers who scored three runs. Chris Andrews blasted a 3-run homerun in the first inning.
John Brantley scored two runs for the A's before the 10-run mercy rule ended the game..