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Junior Dixie Boys fall to Enterprise in extra innings

EUFAULA – After a tough, eight-inning loss to Enterprise, Coach Gary Fox dug deep for words of encouragement to his 13-year-old Junior Dixie Boys on Tuesday.

“I just reminded them that we have dedicated this tournament season to the military, and the men and women over there in Afghanistan are going to lose some battles, but hopefully they don’t give up and lose the war,” Fox said. “That’s what tonight was, a battle. But we haven’t lost the war.”

The Troy team fell 8-6 to Enterprise in its second game of District play on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after defeating Eufaula 11-1 on Monday. The difference was hitting, Fox said. “We just didn’t hit the ball tonight,” he said. “And we had some errors that hurt us.”

Fox continued by saying he thought his team played well defensively.

“Rush Hixon had a great game in centerfield and Austin Ingram pitched well enough to win the game,” he said.

Imgram gave up four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and walked only one batter.

The difference, Fox said, “was in the hitting.”

Troy took an early lead in the game when Jason Fleming hit a double in the first inning to score two runners, giving Troy a 2-0 lead. In the top of the third, Hixon made his first of several key plays in centerfield, catching a deep fly ball in centerfield and turning a quick throw back to second to get the runner out on a tag for a double play, ending the inning and stranding two Enterprise runners.

With bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Troy’s Hunter Baggett drove a ball deep into centerfield, driving in three runs and giving Troy both a 5-0 lead and the momentum going into the fourth inning.

However, a walk, a pass ball and a single gave Enterprise a run early in the fourth inning. With runners on first and second, Xavius Burden made what Fox called a smart play by cornering the lead runner in a run down for the out. “I’m proud of Xavius; he executed just like we had practiced,” the coach said.

Hixon made another diving catch in centerfield on the next at bat for the third out, stranding Enterprise runners again and ending the inning.

Enterprise scored two more runs in the fifth inning. Troy scored on a single by Fleming in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead, forcing Enterprise to switch pitchers. Chris Simon, who started for Enterprise, ended the night giving up six runs on eight hits, with three walks and eight strikeouts.

The new pitcher, Dustin Jordan, shut down Troy’s hitters, giving up no runs, no hits and only four walks in the four innings he pitched.

Troy gave up one run in the sixth inning, on a single to right field. But Enterprise had a big seventh inning, as it scored two runs to tie the game and force extra innings. Enterprise would score two runs in the eighth inning, and with two outs and runners on first and third, Troy challenged in the bottom of the eighth but couldn’t capitalize.

“We just left too many base runners out there tonight,” Fox said.

Fleming, Troy’s pitcher, pitched the final two innings, giving up four runs off of three hits while walking five batters and striking out two.

At the plate for Troy, Reilly Fox was 1-3 with two walks and one run scored; Chase Hartley was 1-4 with one walk, two runs scored; Ingram was 1-5 with one run scored; Burden was 2-5; Fleming was 2-4 with three RBIs; Baggett was 1-4, with three RBIs; Hixon was 0-2 with a sacrifice bunt and a walk; Devin Hooks was 0-4; Baylor Barnes was 0-2 with a walk; and Wright Graning was 0-1.

Troy will play again on Thursday, but their opponent will be determined by today’s Eufaula vs. Enterprise game. If Enterprise wins, Troy will face Enterprise again in the tournament championship. If Eufaula wins, the three teams will each have 1-1 records and will have to draw for a bye into the championship. The two teams not receiving a bye will have a play-in game.

“They know where we messed up, and they know what we need to do,” Fox said. “They’ll be ready for Thursday.”