Batter Up to host ninth ESPN1049/WAW Signing Day Special Wednesday

A.L. Johnson’s Mark Woods is interviewed on air with ESPN1049 during the 2013 Signing Day Special. The event will take place for the ninth consecutive year Wednesday at Batter Up Sports Grill.

While the national sports spotlight will shine upon soon-to-be college football players Wednesday, the focus in Marengo County will be a little less narrow. For the ninth consecutive year, Batter Up Sports Grill in Demopolis will open at lunch on National Signing Day for the express purpose of playing host to the ESPN1049 Signing Day Special.

The initiative is the product of a joint effort from ESPN1049, The West Alabama Watchman, and Batter Up Sports Grill and annually welcomes in student-athletes from around Marengo County and the surrounding area that are signing National Letters of Intent.

Unique to the ESPN1049 endeavor is that –as of two years ago – the event is open to all student-athlete signees regardless of sport. In 2016, the event played host to a UAB soccer signee before welcoming Mississippi State and Ole Miss softball signees a year later.

Since its 2010 inception, the Signing Day Show has welcomed athletes who have signed with Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Duke, Louisville, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Army, South Alabama, Troy, Jacksonville State, Memphis, UWA, Tuskegee, Miles, Stillman, Faulkner, and numerous other schools.

Linden alum Anthony Robinson, who was killed in a car accident in 2013 is the namesake for the ESPN1049 Player of the Year Award, which will be given out Wednesday.

The event begins at 11 a.m. with Batter Up providing lunch to each signee. The ESPN1049 Signing Day Special goes on air at noon and will feature each student-athlete in attendance. The Jeremy Smith Show will continue the festivities during a live remote from Batter Up at 1 p.m.

The ESPN1049 Coaches Show crew, which founded the event, will present its annual highest honor during the occasion. Each year the crew names one football standout as The Anthony Robinson Player of the Year. The award is named in honor of the late Linden High standout Anthony Robinson Jr., a UWA signee and the original recipient of the Player of the Year Award. Robinson was killed in a car accident Sept. 1, 2013.

The event is open to the public.

Demopolis track star claims two state championships Saturday

Ashleigh Ivory runs away from the rest of the field during the 60-meter hurdles Saturday. (Mark Almond/

Ashleigh Ivory celebrates following her win in the 60-meter hurdles. (Mark Almond/

Demopolis senior Ashleigh Ivory is compiling quite the prep career. The Tiger track star added three more medals, including two state championships, to her collection Saturday with a sterling performance at the AHSAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham.

Ivory ran a 9.21 in the 60-meter hurdles to take the state championship in that event, finishing .55 seconds ahead of Faith Davis of Randolph School, who finished second. Ivory also won gold in the long jump, an event that saw her turn in a Class 4A-5A best of 17 feet and 3.5 inches. Ivory’s best jump proved two inches longer than St. Paul’s Emily Burrowes.

Ivory also finished third in the 60-meter dash, 0.28 seconds behind gold medalist Chanice Spicer of Brewbaker Tech,

Ivory now boasts five state championships in her illustrious and yet-to-be-punctuated high school career. She earned her first two outdoor track state titles as part of the 4×100 relay teams during her freshman and sophomore seasons. Ivory went on to win another outdoor medal her junior year when she bested then teammate Darnesha Harris by a fraction of a second in the 100-meter hurdles.

Harris is now on scholarship as a sprinter at South Alabama. Those around the Demopolis program anticipate Ivory will be the next to Demopolis runner to ink a National Letter of Intent.

Linden girls, Demopolis boys pick up wins Friday

LINDEN – One of Marengo County’s best rivalries wrote its latest chapter Friday night as Demopolis and Linden varsity squads split their final tilts of the season.


Demopolis could never overcome its slow start in a game that saw it missing routine starters Shakesaney Bell and Dalaysia Benn. The Lady Tigers were down 9-0 before Shug Billingsley turned a Ja’Kara Taylor pass into a bucket to get her team off the deck. Demopolis trailed 11-2 after the first quarter but rallied to narrow the deficit to 12-10 in the fourth quarter.

When Amber Richardson drained a jumper from the elbow with three seconds left in the opening half to move the Linden lead to 21-12, the accompanying omen was not yet apparent. The shot acted as a spark of sorts for the senior’s game, which had only seen her score five points prior to the jumper. In the second half, Richardson found her shooting stroke and helped propel her team to as much as a 19-point lead. Richardson ended her night with 20 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Tyroneisha Charleston finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Dajia Miller added eight for Linden.

Aniya Johnson was the lone player in double figures for Demopolis, capping her night with 11 points.

Linden controlled the rebounding battler with a 31-14 edge. The Lady Patriots were 13 of 23 from the free throw line while Demopolis went 4 of 9.


Depth proved key for Demopolis Friday night as it pulled away from Linden with a 25-12 fourth quarter. With only eight players dressed, Linden led 17-14 after the first quarter of play and 23-21 at half.

Demopolis utilized the high energy, game-changing play of Nelson Haskin as a spark on both ends of the floor as it took over in the second half.

Haskin came off the bench for nine points, eight rebounds, six blocks, three assists and three steals. The Tigers elevated their tempo alongside Haskin’s play and used their press to berate Linden.

When the ball made it across half court, Graderius Brown looked to keep his team in it with an unprejudiced shot selection from three-point territory. Brown cashed in seven triples to lead the Patriots with 21 points. When he drained a three to narrow the deficit to seven, the Tigers responded with a flurry.

Shakari Williams drove baseline and pulled up for a jumper. Melvin Childers then stole the ball on the ensuing inbound and hit a layup. The following inbound was stolen by Haskin and dished to Childers for a layup, giving Demopolis a 6-0 run in an eight-second span to effectively put the contest out of reach.

Childers paced Demopolis with 22 points and four steals. Williams had 13 points and six rebounds. Keyjuan Gracie finished with nine points.


Demopolis Youth Baseball opens registration

The Demopolis Youth Baseball League has opened its registration for the Spring 2018 season.

The league is open to children who will be between the ages of 4 and 12 as of April 30, 2018. All players ages 7 through 12 will be required to attend mandatory tryouts at the Demopolis Sports-Plex to facilitate the draft process.

Registrations is open until Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. and forms can be turned in at Shirts & More in Demopolis. All forms submitted after that time and date must be accompanied by a $10 late fee.

The organization also has online registration available at The DYBL recommends usage of the online registration portal as it allows parents to set up communication preferences and enables receipt of all team messages.

Tryout dates are as follows:


Age Date Time Player Agent Contact
11&12 Feb. 26-27 5:30 p.m. Jessie Johnson 334-341-8034
9&10 Feb. 26-27 5:30 p.m. Jay Cole 334-341-1440
7&8 Feb. 26-27 5:30 p.m. Brandon Smith 334-654-4750
4,5&6 N/A N/A Seth Allgood 205-799-9130

All players who are unable to attend tryouts must contact their respective player agent prior to the scheduled date.


Demopolis High baseball holding youth camp Feb. 3

The Demopolis High School Tigers start their season in earnest Saturday, Feb. 3 when they conduct their annual youth baseball camp. The event is $25 per child and takes place at the Demopolis High baseball field where campers will have the opportunity to work on the skills of the game under the tutelage of DHS baseball players.

“I don’t think we’re really in it to make a lot of money. It’s amazing the number of kids that are on our team right now that attended that camp when they were young. I was always told when I was younger and started getting into college and all that you give back. That’s part of it,” Demopolis High School baseball coach James Moody said. “It is a small fundraiser, but it’s a good thing for our kids because they have to make themselves accountable to teach the little ones what they want them to do. So they get to kind of put the coaching shoe on and deal with that.”

The event is for children ages 5-12 and begins at 9:30 a.m. Campers ages 5-8 will be part of the first session and will work from 10 a.m. until noon before partaking in a pizza lunch until 12:30 p.m. Children ages 9-12 will start with lunch before taking the second session from 1-3 p.m.

“He’ll get it all. We break them up into two sessions. We do a defensive session and an offensive session. Within each of those sessions, there’s probably five or six rotations of different things they’ll get to do,” Moody said of the experience for campers. “They’ll go through all the hitting drills. They’ll go through the pitching. They’ll go through fly balls, groundballs, base running and all of that. We try to hit it all and our goal is that when they leave, they’re tired.”

Demopolis High baseball boosters will also be cooking Boston butts Saturday to cap off another annual fundraiser. Individuals who purchased a Boston butt to be picked up Thursday or Friday can do so in the baseball parking lot beginning at 5 p.m. Those picking up Saturday can claim their Boston butt across the street.

Early deficits plague Tigers in Sumter trip

YORK, Ala. – Demopolis saw both its varsity squads fall into insurmountable deficits during a pair of dreadful second quarters at Class 5A, Area 7 foe Sumter Central Friday night.

Sumter Central 44, Demopolis 34 (girls)

The Demopolis Lady Tigers held a 9-6 after a largely disciplined first quarter of play and appeared poised to build on the momentum it carried from the end of the teams’ previous meeting. The success proved short lived as Sumter opened the second quarter on a 17-0 run and compiled a lead it would never lose.

The Lady Jaguars ballooned the advantage all the way to 20 before Demopolis began to fight back into the contest. A fourth quarter that featured more poise from Demopolis and saw a spark in the form of an increasingly active Abreuna Jones allowed the Lady Tigers to cut the deficit to six before Sumter ultimately put the game away.

Jones found herself heavily involved in the Demopolis comeback attempt with a second half that saw her score seven points, grab seven rebounds and record two steals. She proved the missing complement to the Demopolis backcourt, which had accounted for all of the Lady Tigers points well into the third quarter of play.

The Lady Tigers also found assistance in their efforts to get off the deck from Sumter’s uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting. The Lady Jaguars made only six of their 16 attempts on the night and left an opening for Demopolis.

Still, the Lady Jaguar defense proved a daunting foe as Sumter tallied 15 team steals to simultaneously stifle Demopolis and fuel its own offensive output.

Chardai Watkins led the way for Sumter with 15 points and six steals. Jada Watkins added 10 points and five rebounds. Amber Fitch had seven points while Kia and Mia Dent each had six. The former Dent sister had five steals in the game.

Shakesaney Bell sparked Demopolis with 12 points, four rebound and four steals. Aniya Johnson added eight points and four rebounds. Shacorie Cockrell had six points and four rebounds.

Sumter moves to 19-5 with the win, Demopolis dips to 4-8 and 0-3 in area play.

Sumter Central 61, Demopolis 48

The Jaguars relied upon their trademark pressure and high octane offensive assault to overwhelm Demopolis in the early moments Friday night. After initially appearing stunned as Sumter raced out to a quick 7-0 lead, Demopolis found its footing and battled the Jaguars to a virtual stalemate over the next 15-plus minutes of game time. The tide turned against the Tiger with 27.1 seconds remaining in the opening half.

Desmond Ward attacked the basket for Sumter and garnered a whistle for his efforts. Ward stepped to the line and drained the first of two free throws as a technical foul was called on the Demopolis bench. Ward proceeded to drain three more free throws to balloon what had been a nine-point lead to 13. He then proceeded to dribble the time off the clock and attack the basket with an up-and-under scoop to stretch the lead to 15 at half.

As the third period wore on, Demopolis saw its body language sink and the Jaguar lead expand. Seconds into the fourth quarter, Demopolis found itself down 20.

That’s when the Tigers began playing their best basketball. Fueled largely by Nelson Haskin’s energy and playmaking, Demopolis clawed its way back into the game, cutting the deficit all the way to seven in the final three minutes of the game.

The Tigers got big shots down the stretch from Haskin, Shakari Williams, Keyjun Gracie and Taylor Herelle as the whittled away at the Sumter lead. The Jaguars then lost post players Calvin Finch and Tyler Presswood to foul-outs during consecutive Demopolis possessions.

With little size remaining on the roster and the game suddenly in doubt, the Jaguars put the ball in the hands of Ward. The senior points guard would help ice the victory with two field goals and a pair of late made free throws for the win.

Ward paced all scorers with 20 points while Jacorie Turnipseed added 15 points. Presswood finished the night with 12 points and nine rebounds. Kedrick Turnipseed had 10 points for the Jaguars.

Herelle had 14 points and five rebounds for the Tigers. Haskin finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and three steals in an all-around effort.

Sumter moves to 25-3 with the win while Demopolis falls to 15-7.

WINTER WEATHER: Closures for Wednesday, Jan. 17

Demopolis City Schools
Linden City Schools
Marengo County Schools
Marengo Academy
Patrician Academy
Little Horns Daycare
First Baptist Church WEE School (Demopolis)
Tender Years
Funtastic Tots Learning Center
West Alabama Christian School and Daycare
Bright Beginnings Daycare
Kids World Learning Center
Marengo County Courthouse
Demopolis Public Library

Marengo, Linden, Demopolis schools closed Wednesday

With a winter storm system settling in over much of the state Tuesday afternoon and an expectation of icy roads and frigid temperatures well into Wednesday, school systems are again facing decisions regarding hours of operation. The first local system to declare its schedule for Wednesday is Marengo County, which will be closed.

“Due to high probability of bad weather for Marengo County, which includes icy roads and temperatures in the teens along with Governor Ivey’s declaration for a State of Emergency, there will be no school Wednesday for the Marengo County School system,” Superintendent Luke Hallmark told The Watchman via text message. “The school system will be open on Thursday.”

The decision follows suit with the Marengo County Courthouse, which will be also be closed Wednesday. Demopolis City Schools and Linden City Schools each confirmed their Wednesday closures as well at 3:05 p.m. Tuesday.

The West Alabama Watchman will update closings on its website, Twitter, and Facebook page as more information becomes available.

Sumter sweeps Demopolis varsity squads in Area 7 tilts

Sumter 65, Demopolis 38

“All gas, no brake” adorned the front of Sumter-Central’s shooting shirts as they took to the floor for warmups in a highly anticipated Class 5A, Area 7 tilt with Demopolis Friday. When the ball tipped, Sumter lived up to its own frenetic billing en route to a 65-38 shellacking of the Tigers.

Sumter hung 10 points on the board before Demopolis got a three off the hand of Melvin Childers to attempt to stay the Jaguars. Unfazed and unflinching, Sumter continued to pour it on as it inflated the advantage to 17 points by halftime.

Demopolis connected on only five shots from the floor in the first half and shot a paltry 6 of 14 from the free throw line. Despite a strong start to the third quarter, virtually nothing improved for the Tigers in the second half.

Sumter used its pace and space offense to drive the lead into 20s before finally going up by 31 in the fourth quarter and triggering the running clock to mercifully shorten the game. Jacorey Turnipseed scored a game high 19 points to pace Sumter. Three other Jaguars finished in double figures as Desmond Ward had 15, Tyler Presswood finished with 13 and Greg Brunson scored 10.

Shakari Williams led Demopolis with 13 points.

The Tigers fall to 15-5 on the season. Sumter improves to 24-3.

Sumter 41, Demopolis 39

Jada Watkins rebounded a missed put back opportunity, set herself, took one power dribble and put the ball in for the go-ahead layup with 5.7 seconds to play Friday night. The Sumter forward’s calmness in the game’s biggest sequence proved enough to beat Demopolis and prevented a near collapse in the fourth quarter in which the Lady Jaguars blew an eight-point lead.

Demopolis whittled away at the Sumter advantage in the fourth quarter after trailing for the entirety of the contest. Freshman Shug Billingsley entered the game and dropped in a layup off a Shakesaney Bell pass to narrow the deficit to three. After a Sumter bucket, sophomore Dalaysia Benn sunk a pair of free throws to cut it to 39-36 with 41.7 seconds to the play.

Demopolis pulled the game even when Aniya Johnson knocked down a triple off a Bell bounce pass with 21 seconds remaining. Sumter missed a pair of open looks before Watkins seized control of the game.

The Lady Tigers would find one more look at the basket off a timeout with 4.4 seconds to play. The ill-fated shot would come nowhere close to the basket as Demopolis fell to 4-7 overall and 0-1 in Area 7 play. Sumter moves to 18-5 with the win.

Chardai Watkins led Sumter with 16 points and six rebounds. Jada Watkins finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Shacorie Cockrell had 12 points for Demopolis. Johnson finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Bell had 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Demopolis High basketball postponed

11-28-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Aniya Johnson brings the ball up the floor for Demopolis.

Demopolis High School’s home basketball games with Bessemer City scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4 have been postponed due to weather concerns. Demopolis High athletic director Tony Pittman said a reschedule date is expected to be announced at a later date.