Pitching, fielding woes hurt All-Stars

Published 12:20 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pitching became the key for the Selma Dixie Majors All-Stars in a Sunday doubleheader in the Southern State tournament at Thomasville High School.

In the first game, the pitching ran out for Selma in a 6-5 loss to Auburn. Then Selma battled back in the nightcap to force an extra inning, but lost 7-5 to the Lower Alabama Dodgers of Andalusia.

Thomas Austin of Selma had his one chance to play Saturday, and pushed himself as far as he could. He was recovering from a cyst removal on his back, so his pitching was limited. His hitting was eliminated.

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“He was in a lot of pain,” said his father, Murray Austin, the head coach of the Selma Dixie Majors All-Stars. “He usually bats, but he couldn’t.”

Thomas Austin, who will be playing baseball at Troy University next year, said he could feel the 10 stitches in his back.

“After that passed ball in the fifth inning, I stepped off the mound,” he said. “And I could feel it shoot up my back.)

He stayed on the mound until his pitch count ran out. With one out in the seventh inning leading 5-1, Selma then gave up four runs on two singles, four walks and a hit batsmen for the loss.

Selma jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning off singles by J.R. Lowe, Richard Long, Heath Harrelson and Brian Frith.

The lead went to 4-0 in the second when Randal Hamilton singles, Dylan Shelby reached on an error and Lowe reached on an error to score Hamilton. Long’s single plated Shelby.

Auburn’s Mike Love scored in the third inning when he singled, went to second base on an error, third base on a single and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Auburn closed the gap to 4-2 when Reed Carter singled, stole second and scored on Chance Lawrence’s single.

Thomas Austin gave up two runs (one earned) with five strikeouts and one walk.

In the nightcap, five Selma errors spelled disaster. Starting pitcher Shelby, however, improved from his Friday start.

“He had a much better start than he did Friday when he was rusty,” Murray Austin said. “His pitches were working. There was not as much pressure as the first game.”

Shelby pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (one earned) with five hits, eight strikeouts, four walks and one hit batsman.