DC beats Keith in game featuring two county playoff teams

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017

PLANTERSVILLE —Keith and Dallas County are both heading to the Alabama High School Athletic Association baseball playoffs, so Tuesday’s regular season finale was mainly about not getting anyone hurt and getting ready for the postseason.

Dallas County (22-4) continued its recent hot streak at the plate in a 14-1 win. The Hornets scored eight times in the first inning and were in control the rest of the way.

“This time of year you don’t ever know when kids may get injured. We want to make sure we can keep our players as fresh as they can be while getting some physical and mental reps in the ballgame,” said Dallas County coach Willie Moore.

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Dallas County will play at Charles Henderson Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the first round of the AHSAA’ 5A playoffs, while Keith (6-6) will play at New Brockton at 2 p.m. in the 2A playoffs. Both series are best-of-three. Two of the three games will be played Friday and an if-necessary game will be Saturday.

With the playoffs in mind, both teams played a lot of younger players.

The Hornets started Caleb Lester at pitcher, but he only threw two innings before being pulled for Hunter Skinner, who threw the remaining three innings. Gabe Denson started the scoring by bringing in John Motley with a sacrifice bunt in the first inning. The Hornets kept adding from there.

In the third inning, a single by DeMarckus Smiley scored Landon Maccomb. Both players are ninth graders. Trey Vickery, a sophomore, also had a RBI single in the inning.

“We tried to make sure we maximized each inning,” Moore said. “Instead of looking at the game as a seven-inning game, we are trying to take the approach each and every inning and every at-bat. I thought we did that for the most part today.”

Keith pitched sophomore Kendarious Perry and Anthony Lumpkin, a seventh grader. The Bears scored their lone run on a Denzell Benjamin single in the fourth inning. Lumpkin scored on the play.

Bears coach Anthony Lumpkin said Tuesday’s game was a chance for Keith to see great pitching and to get used to the speed they’ll see in the playoffs.

“Those guys throw the ball real fast. They’ve got different changeups and stuff like that,” Lumpkin said. “This style of pitching is going to prepare us for what we are going to see Friday.”

Tuesday’s game was the last varsity game Moore will coach at Dallas County High. He announced earlier this year that he’s retiring from coaching. He’ll technically still coach one more home game Wednesday when Dallas County hosts Selma in a junior varsity baseball game.

“During basketball season, it was one thing. It wasn’t near as emotional because I knew I had baseball but I have no other sport behind this when baseball is over,” Moore said. “Could I still go coach? Absolutely, but I’ve prayed about it and I see where God desires for me to be and where I need to go with my life and I know this is it.”