Oak Grove derails Vicksburg’s regional dreams|[07/11/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

George Tzotzolas came up with a big two-out hit in the bottom of the sixth. But Oak Grove centerfielder Kaleb Watts came up with an even bigger throw, denying Vicksburg’s Conner Smith from scoring the tying run.

Watts’ throw saved the game for Oak Grove as Warriors’ pitcher Alex Knight capped off three scoreless innings of relief by striking out Brock Barnes with two on to preserve the Warriors’ thrilling 2-1 win in a game that decided a Cal Ripken 10-year-olds’ Southwest Regional bid.

Oak Grove then beat Bay St. Louis 3-1 to force a deciding championship game today. The game is scheduled to be played in Gulfport because umpires wouldn’t be available until 6 this evening and neither team wanted to wait that long. The tournament had already been pushed back a day because of Friday’s heavy rain.

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Both Oak Grove and Bay St. Louis advanced to the regional, something the Red Sox (34-15) had their hopes on.

&#8220They just beat us,” Red Sox coach Bo Magoun said. &#8220It was an excellent ballgame and Oak Grove did what they needed to. We didn’t get the big hit, but that’s the way it goes. Our boys just have to take this and learn from it.”

Oak Grove coach Gary McLaurin said Watts’ throw, which made a beeline up the line to catcher Will Curtis, was one of several big plays for his team.

&#8220We had a lot of great saves out there. That was a great throw from Kaleb and we got some big hits,” McLaurin said.

None were bigger than a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning by Jonathan Brent. Hitting in the No. 8 hole, Brent finished 3-for-3. His sixth inning hit, which fell into right-center, scored Landon White with the go-ahead run off Red Sox reliever Ben Welp.

&#8220Brent hit the ball well today and he’s hit well this whole tournament,” McLaurin added.

Oak Grove lost to the Red Sox 7-1 on Saturday afternoon but since then has gone a tear, winning twice on Sunday and two more times on Monday to get to the semifinal. Two of its four wins came by one run with rallies in the sixth inning.

The Red Sox got their lone run in the first when Jacob Breeden scored on a base hit by Drake Dorbeck to right field off Oak Grove starter Joseph McLaurin. Smith came up a with a hit later in the inning but Dorbeck was held at third, respecting the arm of Watts.

In the Red Sox third, Dorbeck nearly missed a home run, smashing a hit just a foot from clearing the right field fence. The ball bounced back, limiting him to a single. That was the last good scoring chance the Red Sox had have at scoring until their final at-bat in the sixth.

Knight was dominant in his relief role, retiring seven of the first eight batters he faced.

He walked Smith in the sixth but then got Welp to pop up which he ran down in foul ground to make the out. Tzotzolas, though, got his second hit of the game with a liner to center. Smith rounded the bag but was then sent back to third.

Oak Grove got its first run in the fifth when Brent singled for the second time in the game. He scored when Curtis’ shot to short ran up the arm of Smith and into left field.

Storm win pool game at USSSA World Series

The Vicksburg Storm defeated PC Rec 15-12 at the USSSA 14-year-olds World Series in Pineville, La. on Tuesday.

The Storm had 13 hits led by Matthew Warren going 3-for-3. Taylor Brocato had two hits, including a triple. Talon Little, Clayton Ashley and Keaton Jones each had a double.

Little got the win with Montana McDaniel providing relief.

The win completes pool play for the Storm, who will begin a double-elimination tournament today.