Vicksburg teams sharp at CupBlue Jays, Billies in 10-year-olds’ quarterfinals

Published 11:26 pm Saturday, July 28, 2012

Center fielder Landon Bull tracked down a long fly ball to end the fourth inning, and preserve the Vicksburg Blue Jays’ 4-4 tie with the Southern Sluggers in their final pool play game of the 10-year-olds’ Governor’s Cup Saturday.

The tie gave the Blue Jays the No. 3 seed in the elimination round, and the rest of a hot afternoon off. They’ll face the Louisiana Thunder today at 11 a.m. at Halls Ferry Park in the quarterfinals.

Trez Bershell had a two-run single and Hagen Fortenberry had two hits for the Blue Jays, who added two unearned runs in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead.

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The Sluggers got a run back in the third, and with the time-limit expiring in the bottom of the fourth, T.D. Davidson singled in Cole Sinn for a 4-all tie.

Blue Jays coach Nathan Karel brought in Ethan Parmegiani to keep Davidson from scoring a walk-off winning run. He got Tucker Barthel to ground out to him for the second out. Next, on a 1-2 pitch, Zane Gilpin made solid contact but Bull made the catch in center to end the game.

Getting a tie against the third-ranked team in USSSA’s AAA Mississippi rankings could be considered a nice feather in the cap for the Blue Jays. Karel’s team has done well in their AA class with a 20-11 record but has struggled while playing older teams.

“We’ve had a lot of close games this season and a lot of our losses have been by one run,” Karel said. “We just wanted our defense to make a play for that last out and save the tie. We’ve done well in our class with a 20-11 record and our hitting has been a lot better in this Governor’s Cup.”

The Sluggers were eliminated later Saturday by another local team, the Vicksburg Billies.

The Billies scored five runs in the first two innings and went on to win 8-3. They advanced to today’s quarterfinals against the Salty Dogs. That game will begin at 1 p.m.


Venom 8, Clinton 7

Brooks Boolos’ walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Venom into a 14-year-olds’ semifinal match-up against the Louisiana Showcase today at 10 a.m.

The Lafayette-based Showcase won the USSSA 14-year-olds’ World Series earlier this month.

The Venom trailed 5-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning but rallied with five runs to tie. Will Pierce and Taft Nesmith had RBI singles, while Lane Hynum singled and scored. Clinton helped out by making three errors in the inning.

The Venom had a chance to win in regulation in the fifth when Pierce led off the fifth with a single, was bunted over to second, but stranded there after the next two batters could not get a hit.

After seven innings, the teams went to a tiebreaker rule by loading the bases with no outs. Clinton scored two runs but Venom reliever Tyler Smith got the next three outs.

The Venom got their turn and cashed in with three runs to win the game. Smith drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the score and Boolos’ hit ended it.

Smith, who won a key Division 3-6A game last spring with Vicksburg High, got the win with three innings of relief. Pierce, an All-County player as an eighth-grader at St. Aloysius, had two hits.

The rest of the 14-year-olds’ bracket — as well as the 10- and 12-year-olds’ — was not determined until late Saturday. Weather delayed some games for a second straight day.