DIXIE

The Covington News - - Lo­cal -

New­ton County’s Blake Shope and Austin Tay­lor fin­ished sec­ond and third in in­nings pitched, with 11 1/3 and 11, re­spec­tively. Shope also was sec­ond with 19 strike­outs, in­clud­ing seven look­ing.

Of course, the rain and storms that came through New­ton County on Aug. 3 was the first mem­ory, push­ing the whole event back a day.

The rains re­mained a loom­ing pres­ence through­out each of the four days.

How­ever, once the show started, all at­ten­tion was aimed strictly to­ward the field.

The World Series’ first games were high­light-reel filled spec­ta­cles which took two days to com­plete. Af­ter the Aug. 3 games were post­poned be­cause of the weather, North Carolina led South Carolina 4-3, thanks to a three-run home run in the bot­tom of the sec­ond in­ning, and Arkansas led Louisiana 4-1. How­ever, when play re­sumed Sun­day, South Carolina came storm­ing back with a 10-run fourth in­ning and de­feated North Carolina 23-13. Louisiana had a big in­ning it­self, putting up nine runs in the bot­tom of the third to spark a 14-5 vic­tory.

Shortly af­ter South Carolina ad­vanced, Ge­or­gia took the field to start its un­beaten streak. The West Ge­or­gia All-Stars was the only team to pro­ceed through the dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion World Series with­out a loss. It won its first game in just five in­nings, beat­ing Vir­ginia 15-1.

The host team also lost on that first day, fall­ing to Texas and one of the tour­na­ments best pitch­ing per­for­mances by Chris Booth.

On the sec­ond day, the World Series saw its first elim­i­na­tions as North Carolina sent home South­west Arkansas and Vir­ginia sent home Hardin County, Tenn. New­ton County also picked up its first win that day, de­feat­ing and elim­i­nat­ing Lau­rel-Jones County, Miss.

The third day went much like the first for Ge­or­gia, as the West Ge­or­gia team routed Louisiana 10-0 be­hind 12 hits from a lineup that was start­ing to get buzz around City Pond Park.

In a matchup to de­ter­mine who would go on to face Ge­or­gia, North Caroli- na and Louisiana had one of the most drama filled games as North Carolina led 10-3 go­ing into the bot­tom of the sev­enth.

Louisiana put up six runs in the fi­nal frame, com­ing up just one shy of the rally and a spot in the semi­fi­nals. The ex­cite­ment con­tin­ued into the semi­fi­nals as New­ton County took a 4-1 lead over Alabama be­fore hav­ing their cham­pi­onship hopes threat­ened in the bot­tom of the sev­enth.

Alabama loaded the bases twice be­fore its fi­nal three outs were up, and had run­ners on sec­ond and third with two outs and a 1-2 count be­fore Nick Wo­mack’s strike­out ended mat­ters.

The two Ge­or­gia teams were among the tour­na­ment’s best pitch­ing staffs with West Ge­or­gia lead­ing the way with a 1.79 ERA and New­ton County sec­ond with 2.05.

West Ge­or­gia struck out the most bat­ters, at 56 and New­ton County was sec­ond at 49.

New­ton County al­lowed just 12 walks, fourth fewest, but played more games than Alabama, Texas or Vir­ginia. Both Ge­or­gia teams also al- lowed the fewest home runs, with one apiece.

New­ton County’s pitch­ing staff was backed by one of the tour­na­ment’s most clutch de­fenses, pro­duc­ing a tour­na­ment-high four dou­ble plays, 123 putouts and 42 as­sists.

While New­ton had some of the best pitch­ing and de­fen­sive stats, Ge­or­gia led the way on of­fense, pro­duc­ing the most hits (60), home runs (7) RBI’s (48), to­tal plate ap­pear­ances (205) and to­tal bases (92). Ge­or­gia fin­ished sec­ond in bat­ting av­er­age (3.47) to North Carolina (.353) and on base per­cent­age (.444) to Florida (.473).

With all the high­lights that the in­di­vid­ual play­ers and teams pro­vided, the high­light to many though, was see­ing the teams come to­gether as young base­ball play­ers got to live out their dreams of com­pet­ing in a World Series.

An­thony Banks /The Cov­ing­ton News

Wil­liam Braw­ley /The Cov­ing­ton News

(Top) Ge­or­gia cel­e­brates its Dixie Boys World Series cham­pi­onship. (Mid­dle) New­ton County re­acts af­ter de­feat­ing Alabama in the semi­fi­nals. (Above) New­ton County’s in­fielder throws to first af­ter a force out on Vir­ginia’s base run­ner.

(Top) A Mis­sis­sippi run­ner rounds the bases against New­ton County. (Above) Alabama made it to the semi­fi­nals be­hind its pitch­ing.

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