Shelby County wins District 4 title

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WILSONVILLE &8212; History is in the making with the Shelby County Minor League All-Star team on the way to its first-ever Dixie Youth AAA State Tournament for 9 and 10 year olds.

Shelby County took advantage of the worn-down Thomasville pitching to score eight runs in the third inning of game two Saturday and pull away with a 13-3 victory to help fulfill life-long dreams throughout the team.

&8220;As a kid I never got to go to state, so I&8217;m just as excited as (my players),&8221; said head coach Michael Venable.

Leading by 10 runs entering the fourth inning, Shelby County pitcher Cody Jones hoped his defense would help him hold Thomasville scoreless for a 10-run rule finish to advance to state. However, after Thomasville scored two in the top half of the inning, Jones was in position to end the game offensively.

Wade Martin drew a walk to start the inning, followed by a walk by Jones, the seventh in two innings by Thomasville pitching.

After an errant throw on a double steal attempt allowed Martin to score, Jones advanced to third to set up the winning run. Two batters later, Cole Pate stepped to the plate and delivered a base hit up the middle.

&8220;I knew if he threw one right there I was going to hit it,&8221; said Pate.

As Pate pumped both fists in the air on his way to first, Jones dashed toward home.

&8220;When I was running to home plate I was thinking my dream has come true. I&8217;m going to state,&8221; said Jones.

After beating Calera 15-4 in the opening round, Shelby County shut out Thomasville 9-0 in the second round with the help of a grand slam by Will Prosser and solo home run by Martin. The win pitted Shelby against Chelsea American in a wire-to-wire battle. Jones went the distance in a 5-4 win, striking out six.

Shelby advanced to the championship round with a 1-0 pitchers duel against the Chelsea Nationals, while the Chelsea American fell 18-17 to Thomasville, despite scoring 13 runs in the final two innings to overcome a 16-4 deficit.

Once a four-hour rain delay ceased Saturday, Shelby County took the field and an early 3-2 lead over Thomasville with the help of a two-RBI double by Jones and RBI by Hunter Horton.

The Clarke County team struck back, as Will Brasell beat a play at the plate with two outs to tie the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Spencer Smoker. Brasell then set to the mound and shutdown Shelby County for the final three innings, as Thomasville added two runs in the sixth to force the if necessary game.

Following the championship, Pate assured Jones that the team will continue to back him as it travels to the AAA state tournament in Prattville, July 20-26.

&8220;All the way to state, we&8217;re right behind you,&8221; Pate told Jones