Lincoln Co. 12s in state tourney

Published 8:00 pm Friday, July 20, 2012

Sooner than expected, the Lincoln County All-Stars begin play in the Dixie Youth Baseball Major 12s State Tournament. Due to the threat of a rain-soaked weekend, Lincoln’s opener against the Hattiesburg Nationals has been pushed to Sunday night beginning at 7 p.m.

     The tournament’s opening ceremony has been reset for 4:15 Sunday afternoon. Other opening round games in the double-elimination tournament send the Hattiesburg Americans against Noxubee County, the Laurel Nationals against Greenville North and Yazoo City against Moss Point.

     Win or lose, all eight teams play again Monday, either in the winners or losers brackets. The tournament champion advances to the DYB World Series at Bartow, Fla., Aug. 4-9.

     Lincoln County team members are Tate Felder, Tucker Wallace, Brandon Lang, Keith Robinson, Tyler Mixon, Johnny Bowman, Price King, Parker Flowers, Gabe Nations, Dalton Fortado, Marquise Bridges and Tucker Lambert. Coaches are David Flowers, Ron Lambert and Mark Lang.

     Lincoln County won the district championship the hard way. After beating Natchez 7-2 in the opening round and edging Walthall County 14-13, they lost a 10-3 decision to Franklin County in the rain-delayed tournament that began at Gloster and concluded in Gallman. They recovered to beat Walthall 18-4 and Franklin County 7-2. In the title game Monday night, they edged Franklin County 15-14.

     “Monday night was a game I will never forget as long as I live,” said Lincoln County coach David Flowers, rehashing his team’s title-clinching win over Franklin County. “We put four runs on the board in the first inning and then those dad gum errors kept popping up.”

     Flowers credited his team’s balanced offense with turning the tournament in Lincoln County’s favor. “Our bats in the lower part of the order are starting to wake up. Brandon Lang hit that home run. Dalton Fortado hit a double.

     “Hitting is contagious,” continued Parker. “You get on a roll and everybody hits.”

     Lincoln County’s pitching was expected to be a strength in the district tournament but it got off to a shaky start. As the tournament continued, the pitching improved.

     “When you are on the mound, pitching can be the throne of the world or the loneliest place in the world,” noted Flowers, a former pitcher himself in Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

     Flowers said the Lincoln Countians practiced Tuesday and took infield. “Then we hit two rounds,” of batting practice.

     He plans to practice tonight if he can find a covered batting cage.

     “We hope to represent Lincoln County well,” said Flowers. “We will be competitive. Hattiesburg has a great program.”

     In the district title game against Franklin County, Parker Flowers was the winning pitcher with six strikeouts and three walks. Marquise Bridges (1K, 2BB) started. Tyler Mixon (1K, 0BB) pitched one inning in relief.

     At the plate, Lang was the offensive leader for the Americans with a home run and a single. Lambert provided a home run. Bridges contributed three singles. Price King and Mixon hit two singles apiece. Tate Fielder and Dalton Fortado had a double. Hitting safely were Gabe Nations, Johnny Bowman and Flowers.