Dallas County shutout at home in return from break

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Dallas County Hornets lost their first area game of the season in a 13-0 shutout versus the Demopolis Tigers on Tuesday afternoon in Plantersville.

“They’re a solid team from top to bottom,” Dallas County head coach Mark Rouleau said. “They’ve won the district several years in a row. We had to play a perfect game today to beat them, which we didn’t do.”

The Hornets returned from spring break a little rusty giving up eight walks and committing five errors in the first game back from the break.

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“Errors hurt us,” Rouleau said. “Pitchers couldn’t find the strike zone and we couldn’t hit today, so it was just a culmination of spring break rust.

Demopolis picked up five runs in the second inning after two bases loaded walks and a two-out base clearing double by Charles Casper.

Demopolis was able to capitalize off of Dallas County’s mistakes, and the Hornets were unable to answer.

Even though the team struggled, the Hornets didn’t give up on the game.

In the top of the third inning, Dallas County center fielder broke to his left to chase down a ball driven deep to right center by the Tigers’ leadoff hitter Demetruis Davis. He dove for the ball and just missed the catch by the tip of his glove as the hitter rounded second base.

Motley quickly gathered himself, picked up the ball at the base of the outfield fence and fired the ball to the shortstop Jackson Whitaker.

Davis never slowed down and was already passing his third base coach as Whitaker took in the relay.

Whitaker’s relay from well behind second base made it into catcher Hunter Skinner’s mitt just in time to tag Davis out right in front of home plate to prevent the inside-the-park homerun for the third out.

“They didn’t quit,” Rouleau said. “I’ll give them that. They didn’t quit even though we didn’t hit.”

Unfortunately, the defensive highlight didn’t provide any momentum for the Hornets’ offense.

The team was held to just two hits in the ball game.

Andre Smith ripped a ball into the gap in right center in the top of the fourth inning for a one-out triple, but back-to-back strikeouts left his courtesy runner stranded.

“Our biggest thing was to try and get on base,” Rouleau said. “[Andre] has been one of our better sticks all year, so we expect that out of him.”

Smith’s two hits in as many plate appearances were the only base hits Dallas County got against the Tigers.

“I wanted to get a hit to start a rally or something,” Smith said. “I thought that hit would start a rally, but it didn’t. We got to come back stronger next game, and start hitting the ball better.”

Despite the area loss, the Hornets are still in a position to fight for a playoff spot.

The top two teams in the area make the playoffs, and it could come down to next week’s double header against Central Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, April 4.

“We’ve already beat them once,” Rouleau said. “If we can beat them [again], then we ought to at least have a chance at being No. 2 in the district.”

The Hornets next game is on Wednesday, March 28 against the Southside Panthers. The location of the game has been changed, and they will play at Dallas County High School at 4:30 p.m.