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Orioles hold off Phillies for first place

First place was on the line as the top two teams in the Dixie Boys League met on Tuesday night at Franklin Field.

In the end however, the top team showed why it is currently atop the standings.

The Phillies came into its matchup with the Orioles as the hottest team in the league, winning three games in a row, and in the process jumping to second place in the standing. But as it turned out, the first place Orioles were unwilling to share their position in the standing, as it defeated the Phillies 14-8.

“We are getting better every single game,” Orioles head coach Gary Fox said.

“(The team) is making it difficult for me to come up with a batting lineup every night – this team can hit from top to bottom.”

The win improved the Orioles to 5-1 on the season, while the loss drops the Phillies to 3-3.

The Orioles now have a two-game lead with four games remaining in the season.

The team in orange lead off the game in a big way, scoring nine runs in the top of the first inning and sending 13 batters to the plate.

The Phillies, as they did against the Mets on Monday night, did not go down without a fight, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 9-3.

The home team would get even closer in the bottom of the fourth inning, with the score 12-4, the Phillies started a rally highlighted by a Cole LaBrant triple that brought two runs home.

The Phillies would add to more on the scoreboard, to cut the score to 12-8, but that would be as close as it would get.

In the top of the fifth inning, and with a runner on, Chase Smartt hit his third home run of the season to extend the Orioles’ lead and preserve the win.

“We have been hitting the ball well in the past couple of games,” Fox said after the win.

“We have been putting the ball in play and putting pressure on the defense and taking advantage of those opportunities.”

The winning pitcher was Chase Hall, as he gave up eight runs off of five hits, while striking out five in three and two-thirds of an inning.

At the plate, the Phillies’ Luke Hastings finished the game going 2-3 with two singles and two runs scored, while JaKendal Johnson finished 1-2 with an RBI. The Orioles’ Smartt finished 2-3 with a homer and three RBIs while Morgan Shaver finished 3-3 with three singles, scoring three runs.

“We came into the game hot,” assistant coach Russell Thomas said.

“We hit the ball well and were aggressive on the bases – and that was a big part of (Tuesday’s) win.”

Thomas said that in a league as evenly matched as the Dixie Boys, there is little room for error.

“You can’t make little mistakes, you have to play well every game. We have done a good job of hitting the ball well and fielding and we have to continue to do that.”