Tigers sweep Dallas County, win Area 6 crown

Demopolis (13-6) clinched home field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs Saturday and won Class 5A, Area 6 with a sweep of Dallas County.

Despite the pair of victories, the Tigers struggled in a number of key areas including stranding 20 runners over the course of two games and committing six errors along the way.

“We didn’t get better today. Any time you come to the park and you don’t get better, it’s a wasted day,” Demopolis coach James Moody said.

Demopolis 9, Dallas County 6

The sweep notwithstanding, Demopolis’s day looked bleak early before it rallied for a 9-6 win over the Hornets in game one. A pair of first inning errors by the Tigers helped set up a Theopolis Smith grand slam over the right field fence to put Dallas County up 4-0. Three more errors in the top of the third scored two more Hornet runs and put Demopolis in a 6-0 hole.

From there, Demopolis came to life. Singles by Chandler Barton, Hunter Colyar and Jay Craig set up a three-run double by R.J. Cox to cut the deficit in half. Jacob Rodrigues then singled to plate Tavion Broadwater to make it 6-4. Barton reached on an error to plate Rodrigues before Luke Yelverton and Demetrius Davis came home on a Jonathon Lewis single for the 7-6 Demopolis advantage.

“There’s something to be said for coming back down 6-0 against anybody. I thought in the inning we scored seven, we had good approaches at the plate,” Moody said. “Then, when we went ahead, we kind of went back to where we were. That’s nothing but just focus. It’s focus and using every pitch, every at-bat for a purpose. We’ve got some guys that are not doing that right now.”

The Tigers plated another run in the fourth when Wesley Allgood scored on an Andrew Patterson opposite-field RBI single. Barton scored again in the fifth on a wild pitch to set the game at it’s final score.

Despite the unsightly frame-by-frame, the Tigers got a terrific performance from Colyar, who struck out 12 over seven innings while surrendering just two hits and no base knocks over the final 26 batters he faced. Of the six runs charged to Colyar, none of them were earned.

“I’m glad he (battled). I’m glad he did because the rest of it was ugly,” Moody said. “When I went out to him in the first inning, I said, ‘You’ve got to think about throwing up zeroes the rest of the way. And if you can do that, then that’s all you can do.’”

Demopolis 13, Dallas County 6

Demopolis scored in four of its six at-bats in game two en route to a 13-6 win to clinch the Area 6 championship. Dallas County opened with a run-scoring single from Atchison to take the 1-0 lead before the Tigers stormed back.

Lewis scored on a single from Cox before Colyar found his way home on an error. Patterson beat a rundown to score from third. Ryan Morrison scored on an error to put the Tigers up 4-1. Barton then stroked a two-run triple to plate Yelverton and Allgood for the 6-1 lead. Demopolis added to the lead in the bottom of the second as Broadwater and Morrison scored on a Yelverton triple. Barton then ripped a single to score Yelverton to make it 9-1.

“It’s no magic. They’re focused, they’re locked in and then they just shut it down,” Moody said, pointing to the fact that the Tigers stranded eight runners over the game’s final three innings. “We shut it down. That’s the first thing I said to them when we came in after the top of the second. I said, ‘6-1. This is what we’ve talked about. Keep your foot on the pedal.’ And they let up.”

In the fifth, Broadwater scored on an error off the bat of Morrison for the 10-4 lead. Barton scored on a Colyar double in the sixth. Colyar and Patterson then scored on a pair of passed balls.

Cox got the win on the mound, striking out eight while giving up three earned runs in the contest.

The Tigers also suffered a pair of key injuries on the day as Craig and Ezell both left during the first game. Patterson came on in relief of Ezell in the first game, going 2-for-3 with one RBI in the process. Allgood replaced Craig in game one and then got the start in game two. He scored two runs on the day.

The Tigers are set to play again Thursday when they host American Christian Academy at 4:30 p.m.