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13U bid for World Series comes up short

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee 13U all-stars went 2-2 in the Babe Ruth League Southwest Regional in El Dorado, Ark. The road to the World Series ended in bracket play with a loss to Mid County, Texas 9-1.

"Tallassee represented well," said head coach Tommy Burton. "Due to injuries we were short-staffed on pitchers. (We) managed that well and had our starters ready and eligible for bracket play."

The state champions of Alabama opened the tournament on Friday, July 21 vs. Camden, Ark. with a decisive 17-0 win. Jayden Griggs and Braxton Lemley combined for a two-hitter over four innings. Griggs and Hamp Love had two hits each.

Tallassee went right back on the field that same Friday afternoon to face Eagle Pass, Texas and lost 9-0. Eagle Pass, the eventual regional champ, held Tallassee to just two hits - one apiece by Walker Boles and Branton Griffith.

In the final game of pool play on Saturday, Tallassee overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat Mid County 9-4. Griggs got the win with 3 1/3 innings on the mound allowing one run. Kole Burton led the Tigers at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.

Tallassee drew Mid County in a rematch for bracket play on Saturday evening and were knocked out of the tourney by a score of 9-1. Burton again led the Tigers with two hits.

"I thought we played great baseball," said Coach Burton. "All teams made errors. Ours seemed to come at crucial time with opposing teams' runners in scoring position. We gave up eight unearned runs last day and lost 9-1. Should have been a 1-1 ball game to the end. We gave up five runs in the second inning from errors and you just can't do that against sound baseball teams. I told them before we started that we will almost have to play a mistake free game to win. We left too many on base, and when we squared the baseball up it was right at the defender."

In the championship game, Eagle Pass topped Mid County 9-4 to punch its ticket to the World Series in Virginia coming up in August. Eagle Pass was also the 14U winner. Opp, who beat Tallassee in the 13-15 state title game, beat Denver City, Texas 8-2 to advance to the World Series to be held in Jamestown, N.Y.

"(I'm) super proud of our guys," Burton added. "They competed, they fought to the last out. It was really good for them to see that there is baseball outside of Tallassee, and even Alabama. Our kids had a goal to get better and they seemed to buy in. 

"If I had to sum up the weekend with one statement… the bar for Tallassee baseball was set high many years ago, after this all-star run (with a 4-2 total record), we got little closer to that standard."