Guntersville, Sheffield advancePublished 9:23pm Friday, July 15, 2011
The morning session of the Dixie Majors state championship at Bloch Park was full of drama and excitement.
In the first game of the day, two familiar foes in Morgan County and Guntersville faced off for the fifth time this year.
After splitting the first four meetings, Guntersville etched out a close, 6-5 win.
“You can’t expect anything less from these two teams,” Guntersville head coach Carey Hawkins said.
“Both teams battled hard today, and I knew (Morgan County) were going to come back, even after we took a three-run lead.”
The teams were deadlocked at two runs apiece until the bottom of the fifth inning when Blake Jones, the starter on the mound for Guntersville, helped himself out with a towering three-run blast.
After tacking on a run in the bottom of the sixth, it looked as if Guntersville would ease their way to a victory, but Morgan had one last gasp.
Joshua Freeman led the top of the seventh with a walk and just two batters later, Matthew Vest got a homerun of his own to pull within one, and after two more runners got on for Morgan, Guntersville shut the door.
Sheffield 5 Southeastern 4
Game two at Bloch Park was the first elimination game for the Dixie Majors state tournament.
With their tournament lives on the line, it was no wonder the intensity and competition was high in Sheffield’s 5-4 victory over Southeastern.
“Anytime you win you are going to be pleased,” Sheffield coach Scott Arndt said. “We get to be back at it at 9 a.m. tomorrow instead of going home.”
The key moment of the game came when Arndt called a safety squeeze from Marcus Burden in the top of the seventh inning to bring home Hunter Dreaden to tie the game at four.
“Marcus likes to bunt,” Arndt said. “We got fortunate the third baseman trailed (Dreaden) and Hunter was able to make a good read and score when the ball was thrown to first.”
With the loss to Sheffield, South Eastern became the first team to be knocked out of the tournament.