Tennessee conquers Alabama and Texas in World Series
By Amanda Lowrance
Selmer 9-10 Year Old All-Stars came away with two wins in the Dixie Youth AAA World Series last weekend as they represent Tennessee.
Last Saturday’s game against Daphne National, Alabama was bumped up due to rainy weather conditions. Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee share the same hotel in Carthage, North Carolina.
Coach Josh Gray said the boys competed in a parking lot game of whiffle ball the night before the World Series and had the entire hotel watching the action.
“They beat us in the parking lot in whiffle ball, but we beat them on the field the next day,” said Gray.
As the boys entered the World Series, they knew the competition level was raised, and they had to adjust.
“Alabama was one of the best teams we have faced so far,” said Gray “but we beat them.”
In the top of the first inning, Tennessee led off with four runs leaving Alabama scoreless.
Lead hitter Braden Rickman advanced to first with a base hit and was brought around to second by Hunter McCallar. JT Cranford stepped up to the batter box and hit a double which brought home Rickman and McCallar for the first two runs of the tournament for Selmer.
Tucker Gray walked. While Justin Smith is at bat, Cranford stole home while Gray moved to third. Peyton Kiddy then brought in a single that sent Gray home.
With four runs going into the bottom of the first inning, Tennessee hurried three outs with an out at first by Will Denton from shortstop Cranford and two strike-outs from starting pitcher McCallar.
Preston Steward picked up a single in the top of the second with one out. Alabama then made some adjustments on defense by subbing players and switching fielding positions.
Hunter Jernigan was walked and this advanced Steward to second. Alabama picked up a strikeout but the lineup came back around to Rickman, who was hit by a pitch.
With bases loaded, Lucis Hively dinged a single and then Alabama closed out the inning leaving three runners on base.
No more runs were scored until the bottom of the fourth, when Alabama attempted a comeback with two homeruns.
The game tightened up defensively on both ends and the game went scoreless for the fifth inning as well.
In the top of the sixth, Tucker Gray rounded the bases with two walks thrown by Alabama pitcher and single hit by Denton.
Three outs later, Alabama scored two unearned runs, but it wasn’t enough to win the ball game. Tennessee celebrated their first victory in the World Series over Alabama 6-4.
Last Monday night Selmer faced Nacogdoches, Texas, which had Facebook friends joining in live at JockJive.com to watch the play-by-play action and listen to the commentary of Robert Williams.
Cranford leadoff in pitching against Texas, and held them to two scoreless innings, while Tennessee fired in six runs from Rickman, McCullar, Cranford, Smith, Kiddy, and Hunter Justice in the first.
In the bottom of the second, Tennessee tacked on three more runs from Austin Whiting, Rickman, and McCullar.
In the third Texas added two runs to Tennessee’s one.
Texas began battling for their last chance at a win.
The intensity and nerves began to show from both teams as the time limit neared.
McCullar was struggling on the mound as Texas made six runs in the top of the sixth. Many expected a new arm to come in, but Coach Gray gave secret words of encouragement.
“I just told him nothing’s hurt. We are about to get an out and win this game,” said Gray.
Tucker Gray made a catch at second and fell, but still managed to get the ball to first baseman Denton for the final out that sealed the ball game 10-8.
“That was a good team,” said Gray. “Arrant, their pitcher, is 10-year-old and is projected to be 7’1 inches tall. He was throwing at 75 miles an hour. You couldn’t see the ball. I was wondering when they were going to bring the big guy in and he was the fourth one.”
Texas pitcher, Rowen Arrant is one of Texas’ best hitter and pitcher and had three strike-outs in the last inning.
Each and eveyone of these boys made a hard-working, valiant effort to win each game in the World Series. Players include HunterMcCallar, Lucis Hively, JT Cranford, Will Denton, Peyton Kiddy, Tucker Gray, Braden Rickman, Hunter Jernigan, Hunter Justice, Justin Smith, Preston Steward, and Austin Whiting.
Three teams are officially eliminated from the tournament with two losses each; those teams are Virginia, Georgia, and the host North Carolina.
Tennessee faced Florida last Tuesday after press time. For complete coverage of the Selmer World Series team join the Independent Appeal on Facebook or live at JockJive.com as we provide immediate updates on Facebook and route for Selmer’s hometown boys.