Scintillating Tatum performance anchors Demopolis win

Demopolis scored three runs in the third and two more in the fifth en route to a 5-1 win over Sweet Water Tuesday.

The Lady Tigers opened the scoring when Abbey Latham doubled in Courtney Smith in the bottom of the third. Bria Brown followed with a groundball RBI to plate Jessica Adams and move the score to 2-0. Natalie Tatum then drove Latham in on a grounder for the 3-0 lead.

After Bailey Brunson launched a solo homer to center field to cut the score to 3-1, Demopolis stretched the advantage in the fifth. Tatum drove in Latham on a groundout to make it 4-1 before Brown scored on a passed ball for the 5-1 lead.

“They’re starting to mature more as players. We are young,” Demopolis coach Brittany Dunson said of her team’s progress through 23 games. “They’re maturing mentally more than anything and that’s what we need to do. We need more mental growth.”

The offensive output was more than enough to support the pitching efforts of Tatum, who used 83 pitches to strike out eight batters over seven innings of work while limiting Sweet Water to two hits and one earned run.

“She was spinning it well,” Dunson said. “She missed her spots early on but she talked with our pitching coach and got it all worked out, figured some stuff out.”

Kamae Retic singled for the Lady Bulldogs’ only other hit of the contest. Demopolis countered with nine hits of its own.

Courtney Smith was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Adams scored a run. Latham went 2-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored. Brown finished 1-for-3 with one RBI and a run scored. Tatum went 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Elly Brown finished 1-for-3 while Holli Gandy and Kendall Hannah each finished 1-for-1.

“As far as the way our season looks on paper, it doesn’t look great but I’m happy with where we are as a team now,” Dunson said.

The Lady Tigers have seen their lineup deepened in part by the development of younger players such as eighth grader Bria Brown, who has become a consistent threat in the Demopolis batting order.

“It’s huge having some middle school kids that can slug and come out here and hang with the older girls. It’s great,” Dunson said of the growth exhibited by her team’s first baseman. “It’s absolutely needed that we can get somebody younger like that over here to get some more years with the older girls, get some more experience. I think it’s better for her in the long haul.”

Demopolis (14-9) is set to host Holt Thursday before traveling to Dallas County for an area contest Friday. Sweet Water visits Hale County Friday.