Minor B coaches try to keep game fun
By Ashley Hargrove
and Paul Stackhouse
Players participating in the Dixie Youth Minor B sub-district tournament at Point Mallard know that baseball is all about learning fundamentals and having fun.
And Decatur National coach Brad Burroughs figures his job is to teach that as best as he can.
“I try and make practice as enjoyable as possible so these guys will look forward to coming,” Burroughs said. “We practice the fundamentals but try to have a little fun as well.”
Burroughs end-of-practice fun consists of two contests — a home run derby and a soft egg toss.
Hartselle American coach David Bunn said he likes to wait until practice and games are done to goof off.
“We do a few teaching games during practice to help with the fundamentals,” Bunn said. “But we usually wait until after baseball to have fun. We went to a Stars game a not long ago to help get a bond going.”
Decatur National earned a 10-0 victory over Morgan West American on Saturday night. In the other game, Hartselle American beat Athens National 23-1.
Play will continue Monday night as Athens National takes on Morgan West American at 5:30 p.m., followed by Decatur National vs. Hartselle American at 7:30 p.m.
If Hartselle American does well Monday night, Bunn and his assistant coaches will be having a bit of fun of their own. They promised the team one push-up for every point they score.
Even though Burroughs didn’t make any promises on what he would do if his team won Monday night, he said he just wants his players to come out and play their best.
“These guys know it’s an honor to still be playing,” Burroughs said. “They have high expectations and know their rolls when they come on and off that field. I couldn’t ask for a better group of players and parents.”
Decatur National 10, Morgan West American 0: Tanner Burns got the bats going for Decatur National in the bottom of the first with a single. John Riehl, Jack Collins and Charlie Cushing all followed with singles. Burns scored on Cushing’s single to put Decatur National up by a run.
Will Gannaway started it off for Decatur in the bottom of the second with a single. Charlie Crane and Saylor Solley followed with doubles. Decatur National rolled and scored five runs before ending the inning.
Decatur managed to score four more runs in the final two innings.
Hartselle American 23, Athens National 1: Hartselle American continued their hitting streak Saturday night, sending 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first before ending it with the 10-run inning rule.
Christian Edwards’ home run at the top of the bottom of the second put Hartselle American up by 11. Hartselle managed seven more runs before the inning ended.
Hartselle American scored five more runs in the third.
Thomas Carter’s double drove in Athens National’s only run.
13- and 14-year-olds
The Decatur American 14-year-olds continued their winning ways Saturday in sub-district tournament play at Cedar Ridge Middle School.
The Americans put together a 16-hit offensive attack en route to a 26-0 win over Rogersville. The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
With the win in the double-elimination tournament, the Decatur 14-year-olds will face Colbert County on Monday at 8 p.m. Colbert County beat Underwood 6-3 on Saturday.
Also, Brooks eliminated Muscle Shoals from competition with a 21-11 victory. Brooks will play Greenhill on Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Rogersville will face Underwood at 5:30 p.m., too.
In the 13-year-old division, Decatur American rolled to a 11-5 victory over Underwood, forcing a second game to determine the tournament winner. Underwood took that game late Saturday night 8-3.
Since there are only two teams playing in the West District 1 tournament, both Decatur and Underwood will advance to the 13-year-old district competition July 6 at Lawrence County.
Decatur American 14-year-olds 26, Rogersville 0: Decatur American took control from the beginning. Decatur sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored eight runs.
Ethan Walker collected the pitching win. He worked two innings, allowing no hits while striking out three and walking one.
Andrew Lilly led Decatur American at the plate with a triple and a single. Justin Rippen had two doubles, while Connor Graves and Thomas Russell had a double and two singles each. Hayden Naumann hit a double and a single, while Ty Keenum, Jordan Smith, Devin Wynn and Dylan Woods finished with a single each.
Trey Nance had a double to lead Rogersville’s hitting. Adam Lamar claimed the only other Rogersville hit with a single.
Decatur American 13-year-olds 11, Underwood 5: The Decatur American 13-year-olds pushed two runs across the plate in the first inning and nine more in the third to take a dominating 11-0 lead.
Michael Speegle led the Decatur 13-year-olds at the plate with a home run and a double. Zach Johnson and Hasting Knox both doubled with Sam Roberts and Josh Melson collecting two singles each. Michael Bray, Brian Byrd and Todd Paysinger finished with a single each.
Shane Prewitt pitched five innings for Decatur American to earn the win.
Underwood 8, Decatur American 13-year-olds 3: In a game that ended late Friday night, Underwood took the tournament title.
11- and 12-year-olds
Decatur American 13, Morgan County East 0: The Americans polished off this Dixie Youth Ozone sub-district tournament win in four innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Decatur American will face Hartselle National in the next round Monday at 8 p.m. at the Athens Sportsplex.
Against Morgan County East, Chris Fail and Matthew Fischer each pitched two scoreless innings.
They combined to allow only one hit.
For Decatur, Chris Sparkman had a single and a home run, while Fail also slugged a homer and singled. Tyler Rivers added a home run.
7- and 8-year-olds
Decatur American 12, Hartselle National 7: Playing in a sub-district tournament in Hartselle, Grayson Wakefield had a single, a double and a homer for Decatur.
Dylan Ray contributed three singles.
Cade Pressnell, Thomas Rossi, Colt Dozier, Charlie Orr, Victor Garth, Austin Joy and Brady Netherton each had two singles.
Decatur American will face Athens National on Monday at 8 p.m.
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