State-bound Trojans

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

It was a different day and a different hero for the Troy Dixie Youth O-Zone American League tournament team Thursday night in the District IX championship game at the Troy Sportsplex.

Kenyatta Jones slapped a ball to second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tripp Blackmon slid in under the tag and the Troy Americans took down Enterprise for the second time in three nights, 3-2.

&uot;I went up to the plate thinking I was going to hit the ball and I did,&uot; Jones said. &uot;He threw me a curveball and I just stayed back and drove it.&uot;

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Troy coach Greg Avant said the Troy Americans just know how to get the key hits.

&uot;That was such a clutch hit by Kenyatta,&uot; Avant said. &uot;And if it was not him, I am sure one of the other guys would have gotten the hit. Like we told them in our team meeting after the game, this truly was a team effort. Everyone contributed to us winning this tournament.&uot;

The win sends Troy to the state tournament that begins July 12 in Enterprise.

Blackmon has been dealing with a pulled hamstring all tournament, but he said he put that out of his mind when he was racing home as the winning run.

&uot;I knew I had to get home,&uot; he said. &uot;I have a sore hamstring, but I told myself to forget about the hamstring and score. I have a whole week to rest the hamstring.&uot;

On Tuesday night, Blackmon slapped a game-winning hit to beat Enterprise 5-4 after a home run was called back for Enterprise and he stepped up again on the mound Thursday night.

Blackmon pitched a complete game, allowing two runs, both in the fifth inning, on two hits. He struck out eight batters and walked two.

&uot;I was just out there trying to throw strikes,&uot; Blackmon said. &uot;I knew even if they hit it that I had seven guys behind me that will get it and make the play.&uot;

Troy’s pitching had been depleted by the consecutive days rule of Dixie Youth baseball and the decision to pitch Blackmon was made on a gut feeling.

&uot;We talked last night about how there were several guys we had confidence in on the mound and it was between four of our guys,&uot; Avant said. &uot;We knew if Tripp could go than we felt comfortable pitching him and coach Billy Hixon said ‘I have a gut feeling about Tripp.’ And we went with Tripp.&uot;

The decision worked out for the Troy Americans, as they are heading to the state tournament July 12 in Enterprise.

&uot;These guys had set this as goal one from day one,&uot; Avant said. &uot;And we played a super team in Enterprise tonight. They beat us in the first game of the tournament, but we regrouped and came out of the loser’s bracket to win the championship. I am extremely proud of all of our guys.&uot;

Ryan Brunson pitched a complete game for Enterprise as well, striking out eight Trojans and walking one.

Troy scored two runs in the first inning. Xavius Burden plated Chan Avant with a single and John Johnson scored on an error.

Enterprise scored their two runs on a wild throw to the plate in the fifth inning. Blackmon crossed the plate in the seventh to end the game.

Burden was 3-for-3 in the game. Avant, Johnson, Blackmon, Rush Hixon and Blake Craft each had a hit in the game.

Brunson and Sid Thompson each scored one run for Enterprise and Thompson and Daniel Spann each had a hit for Enterprise.