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Steppin’ up to the plate

EUFAULA – Once he found himself in a rundown, Reilly Fox knew what he had to do.

“We had just worked on that in practice,” said head coach Gary Fox. “He knew he had to stay in it as long as he could, to let the runners score.”

And that’s just what the younger Fox did, allowing three base runners to score off his bases-loaded single and giving the Troy Dixie Boys 13-year-olds a 11-1 lead over Eufaula in the opening game of the District Tournament on Monday.

The runs, which were scored in the bottom of the sixth inning, clenched the game for Troy.

“The only thing Reilly said afterwards was that he should’ve just let them tag him instead of diving back to first after the runners scored,” the coach said. “But you know, it’s exactly what we’ve been working on in practice – small things, details.”

The Junior Dixie Boys are just beginning their post-season play this week and will face Enterprise tonight in the second game of their district tournament.

“You know, to come out and 10-run-rule a team like Eufaula is a great way to start a tournament,” Fox said. “And I will enjoy this victory, from here to Troy. But by the time I get to Troy, I will be thinking about (Enterprise).”

Overall, Fox said he was pleased with the way his team played in the opening game.

“They hit well, played well, and Chase Hartley pitched well for us,” he said.

Hartley, who pitched a complete game, gave up only two hits and four walks with six strikeouts on the night. Eufaula’s only run of the game was unearned and came in the first inning.

Troy came back in the bottom of the first thanks to a Xavius Burden hit that drove in two runs off of Eufaula’s star pitcher, Rayquan Kelly.

“Kelly’s a good athlete,” Fox said. “He throws the ball hard and the difference between last year and this year is that he has some off-speed pitches he mixes in this year.”

Kelly, who pitched five innings, gave up five runs on six hits. He also struck out 10 Troy batters while hitting two and walking one.

Troy rallied again offensively in the fourth inning, when Burden hit another long drive to the left field fence. A single to right field by Fox scored Burden.

Later in the inning, Devin Hooks would reach first base and would send Fox home, thanks to a Eufaula error.

Eufaula ran into trouble in the top of the fifth, with Troy leading 4-1, when they made an illegal substitution for a batter. “The game was only 4-1, and that was key to the momentum,” Fox said.

Eufaula made a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing in Zac Dismukes.

Troy rallied, scoring six runs on five hits and two errors that inning, earning the win.

The inning started with a single by Patrick Henderson up the middle, followed by a single by Baylor Barnes to right field.

Rush Hixon singled to left field and Hartley got an RBI thanks to a single up the middle with bases loaded.

Austin Ingram earned two RBIs and reached second on an error, making it 8-1 Troy.

Overall for the night, Hixon was 1-4 while Hartley finished 2-4 with one RBI.

Ingram was 1-4 with two RBIs; while both Hunter Baggett and Jason Fleming finished 1-3, with both getting hit by a pitch.

Burden and Fox combined for six RBIs and four hits in eight at-bats, as Burden drove in two off of three hits and Fox drove in four off of one hit.

Hooks was unable to get a hit, but still finished with an RBI while, Henderson finished 1-1; Barnes, 1-2; and Wright Graning finished with a walk.