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Laurel ace slams door on Meridian

By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
July 7, 2002
An ace in the hole came in quite handy for the Laurel-Jones County All-Stars here in the deciding game of the Dixie Majors District Tournament on Saturday night at John Moss Field.
Laurel-Jones County relief ace Brett Jones fired 3-plus innings of scoreless relief to lead his team past defending World Series Dixie Majors champion Meridian 5-1 in the deciding game of the series.
Meridian had earlier tied the series in a Saturday afternoon game two taking an 8-4 decision over LJC.
With the win, LJC heads to the State Dixie Majors Tournament in Kosciusko.
Jones entered the mound in the fourth inning with the bases-full of Meridian stars and two out. He got East Mississippi Community College signee John Stevens to hit into an inning-ending ground out to second.
That would prove to be Meridian's last best chance at coming back from a 4-1 deficit.
After a hit-batter in the fifth, Jones retired nine straight batters to finish the game. Six of the outs came by strike out as Meridian could not handle his upper 80 miles per hour velocity.
The plan according LJC coach Morris Welch, was to win the series in two games.
Meridian manager Neil Anderson said his club missed chances early in the deciding game.
Laurel used its speed to grab a 2-1 lead. Leadoff man John Moffett had hits in both the first and third innings and scored on both occasions.
The first came off a nicely turned double play by Meridian in the first. He then got a one-out hit in the third and scored on a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-1.
Meridian's lone run came in the second when Richie McAlister singled and then scored on a hit to left by Richmond Alexander.
Following Moffett's second hit, J.J. Johnson singled to load the bases. A fly ball by Jones was enough to score Kyle Holifield – who had reached on a wild-pitch, third-strike with the go-ahead run.
Meridian starter John Iverson then hit Justin Wade with a pitch to load the bases with two out.
Spinks was brought in and walked the next two batters to force in Moffett and Johnson to make it 4-1.
Meridian loaded the bases twice against LJC starter Jason Ford but couldn't get a run. Jones then slammed the door from there.
Laurel's last run came in the seventh off a pair of Meridian errors. Moffett finished with three hits and two runs to lead LJC.
Meridian 8
Laurel-Jones County 4
Meridian grabbed a 4-0 lead off a four-run third inning and went on to force a third and deciding game in Saturday's game two of the series.
Brian McNeil had two hits and two runs scored to pace Meridian. John Stevens drove in a pair of runs in the third and also scored twice while Drew Anderson doubled and scored twice.
Brandon Mabry and Richmond Alexander had RBI hits in the fifth to extend Meridian to a 6-0 lead.
Richie McAlister and John Iverson knocked in runs in the sixth to make it 8-1.
Matt Creighton went 5 2/3 innings allowing four runs off six hits. He struck out two in gaining the win. Iverson retired four straight, including a big out when Laurel loaded the bases in the sixth, to earn the save.
Laurel was led by Justin Wade who got a two-run single to highlight a three-run sixth.

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