Dothan named champs

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The 2015 Dixie Boys State Tournament came to a close at the Sportsplex Tuesday afternoon, after eight teams made up the original field the final three teams were in action to determine the champion. After a long day of baseball that saw two-weather delay’s, Dothan was crowned champions after defeating Spanish Fort 11-6.

Dothan began the day in a three-way tie with Spanish Fort and Troy, each team were included in a draw to determine who would have a bye straight to the championship and who would have to play in the early game.

Spanish Fort was the lucky team and sat back and waited while Dothan knocked off Troy.

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This time a year ago, this same team, minus one player, was representing the state of Alabama in the Junior Dixie Tournament. Fast forward one year and their heading to South Carolina to once again represent the state of Alabama.

“We came together at the end of the year, and we weren’t sure if we were going to play American Legion baseball or play some other type of ball for the summer,” said Dothan head coach Shawn McCorkel. “The kids told me they wanted one more shot at it.”

Dothan experienced its fair share of challenges over the last few days, but it paid off in the end.

“It was tough. We played some pretty good ball clubs this week,” McCorkel said. “Then we had to play in this heat, and play in back-to-back games today. These guys fought, but they have been here before and they know what it takes to get things done.”

Both teams started things off with great pitching during the first few innings. Both Grayson Davis, of Dothan, and Chandler Passons, of Spanish Fort, combined to allow just one run through the first four innings.

Spanish Fort jumped out first in the second inning. Andrew Smith led off the inning with a base hit followed by two walks by Blake Peacock and Ely Kent. Smith was able to maneuver himself around the bases and score the game’s first run.

Spanish Fort led until the fourth inning until Dothan finally got on the board by scoring two runs to take the lead.

Will Solomon and Jake Kinny both got on base via a base hit and a an error to get runners on first and second with nobody out. After a ground-out by JC Summerford and a base hit by Joey Wazniak, Dothan had the lead.

McCorkel said the motto for Dothan is to play strong in last three innings, and they did that and then some Tuesday afternoon.

That game strategy started for the team in the fifth inning when Dothan sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs.

Will Solomon and Kinny began the inning by reaching base on an error and a base hit the floodgates opened. Summerford followed suit and knocked a base hit to continue the parade of offense by Dothan.

In the inning Solomon, Kinny, Summerford, Hayes Shepard, AJ Pierce, and Gage Lee all scored to give Dothan the 8-1 lead over Spanish Fort.

“I want us to be in the game during the first four innings, but no matter what nobody beats us in the final three innings,” McCorkel said. “That has been our motto, and we have stuck by it, and that’s how we finish games.”

Spanish Fort did however try to put their motto to the test. In the bottom of the fifth inning, they pulled within three runs of Dothan when four players crossed home plate in the inning.

Harrison Biggs, Passons, Jackson Breal, and Sam Hoover scored for Spanish Fort bringing the score to 8-5.

After the day’s second rain delay lasted approximately an hour the game resumed in the sixth inning.

In the seventh, Dothan tacked on three more runs to officially put the game out of reach for Spanish Fort. Solomon and Kinny both scored their third run of the game in the seventh inning, while Wozniak scored the third.

Summerford, Pierce and Kinny led the way in hitting for Dothan, all three players finished the game with two hits.

The win sends Dothan to Aiken, S.C. to represent the State of Alabama in the Dixie Boys World Series, which will run from Aug. 1-5.