O-Zone Rookies survive, clinch spot in state title series

Published 10:28 pm Monday, July 8, 2013

O-Zone Rookies head coach Chad Copeland jokingly said that his team wanted to make sure that all the fans got their money’s worth on Monday afternoon.

Troy hung on late to advance to the state title series with a 9-7 win over Decatur American in the finals of the American Bracket at the O-Zone Rookies State Tournament in Muscle Shoals.

Troy led 9-3 entering the sixth inning, but saw Decatur mount a late rally, scoring four runs, and loading the bases with two outs.

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“That seems to be our M.O.,” Copeland said. “We did almost the exact same thing at district, trying to give a game or two away every now and then. These guys never dropped their head because they are used to these situations.”

Troy went to the whip early in the contest, plating four runs in the first inning, including a two-run homer off the bat of Jade Sikes. Laertis Brantley also drove in a run in the bottom of the first with an sacrifice fly to center.

Brantley would go yard later in the contest as well.

Troy scored nine runs in the win, the fewest amount all week.

“We scored nine today, and that is the least we have had in any game, and that says a lot for that Decatur team,” Copeland said. “They were by far the best team we played all week. But the thing about this team, is they can hit the ball up and down the lineup.”

Sikes picked up the win on the hill, throwing strikes to 12 of the 29 batters he faced.

Javaris McNair picked up the save.

With the win, Copeland’s O-Zone Rookies advance to the state title series against either AUM or Bay Minette.

The title series kicks off on Wednesday at 10 a.m.