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Meridian headed to finals

By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
July 13, 2003
It took little over an hour for the Meridian 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars to dispatch New Albany and claim a spot in Sunday's championship round.
Meridian whipped the New Albany All-Stars 11-1 on Saturday afternoon at C.V. Sykes Field. Meridian, now 3-0 in the tournament, will face Long Beach at 3 p.m. today in the championship.
Since Meridian is the lone undefeated team left in the tournament, Long Beach will have to beat the host-team twice in order to advance to the Babe Ruth Southwest Regionals.
Meridian manager Randy Dively was able to play his entire bench during the five-inning romp that was called because of a 10-run rule.
Meridian has had just one tough game, a 2-1 decision Friday against Long Beach.
Long Beach came back Saturday morning to send Stone County packing with a 10-0 romp in five innings.
Putting the ball in play helped Meridian dig out of an early 1-0 hole, after New Albany scored a run in its first at bat.
Lindsey Spinks led off the Meridian first with a walk and later scored on a hit by Walton Mitts. A misplayed ball to third base allowed Mitts to reach third.
William Alexander then scored Mitts on a fielder's choice hit for a 2-1 Meridian lead.
In the bottom of the second, Meridian scored two more. Daniel Covert singled, stole second and then went to third on a bad throw to second on his steal attempt. Antwon Lockhart drove in the run with a fly-ball out to left for a 3-1 lead.
Spinks then doubled and Jeremy Barnacastle drove him in with a single to left and a 4-1 lead.
Three straight errors at third base by New Albany led to two more runs for Meridian in the third. Anthony Taylor and Alexander both scored to make it 6-1.
About the only scary moment for Meridian for the day was a line-drive shot off the knee of Barnacastle, Meridian's starting pitcher, in the top of the fourth.
Barnacastle was able to come back and smack a single with one out in the bottom half of the fourth.
Barnacastle scored on New Albany's sixth error of the game following a bad infield toss from second.
Mitts, Phillip Dively and Alexander all reached base to bring Meridian within reach of the 10-run rule. Two-run singles by Cameron Gordon and Covert made it a reality, as Meridian grabbed an 11-1 lead.
Alexander took the mound in the fifth for Barnacastle and sat down three of the four men faced to close out the game.
Meridian finished with nine hits. Barnacastle had two while Mitts and Spinks each scored twice.
Long Beach 5
New Albany 4
9 innings
Heavily favored Long Beach needed nine innings before sending home a tough New Albany club in Saturday night's late game at Sykes Park.
Long Beach was down 3-2 in the seventh when a pair of errors allowed the tying run to score.
Both teams scored a run in the eighth. A sac fly by New Albany's Cole Williamson knotted the game at four and sent the game to the ninth.
Long Beach loaded the bases in the ninth with no out but needed a two-out hit from Billy Childress to score Justin Garriga for the go-ahead run. New Albany got a double from Van Cooper in their final at bat but could not get him home.