Originally created 07/23/98

Columbia County falls in Dixies

The Columbia County Dixie Major all-star baseball team won't be making another trip to the Dixie Major World Series this year.

Valdosta starting pitcher Sammy Watson allowed Columbia County just three hits while his team pounded out 11 en route to an 8-1 victory Wednesday night, sending Valdosta into the Dixie Major World Series that begins Aug. 1 in Florence, S.C.

Despite taking an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, the Columbia County all-stars were unable to put together any serious scoring threats the rest of the way.

"We just didn't get the hits," Columbia coach Taylor Brooks said. "That guy (Watson) did a great job out there. That's really all there is to say about the game."

Columbia would have had to beat Valdosta twice to advance to the World Series. Valdosta won a 13-inning marathon Monday night to put Columbia County into the loser's bracket.

The rematch between the state's top two all-star teams started out as a pitcher's duel between Watson and Columbia County's Chuck Harrington.

Harrington didn't allow Valdosta to even reach base or to record a hit until Scott Simpson finally got Valdosta's first hit, reaching on a single in the top of the fourth. Sampson, wasn't as strong as Harrington, but the left-hander improved as the game wore on.

But when fatigue set in on Harrington, Valdosta tagged the former Harlem standout for five runs in the fifth inning. Bryan Felker opened the inning with a double down the first-base line, then Stephen Hanney beat out an infield single.

A perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Daniel Connell scored Felker and tied the game at 1. But that was just the beginning. Simpson, Watson and Will Stuckey then put together three consecutive hits to make it 3-1. Both Simpson and Stuckey's hits were doubles.

Hampton Rowland stopped the bleeding when he struck out Jason Vanus to end the fifth inning after Valdosta had taken a 5-1 lead.

But any hopes of a comeback were dashed in the top of the seventh when Valdosta pushed three runs across the plate to take an 8-1 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Watson surrendered a leadoff walk to Tony Smith before retiring the next three batters to end the game.

"I think that 13-inning game the other night really took a lot out of us," Brooks said.

Columbia scored its only runs of the night when Smith drew a walk in the second, took second on an error and scored on first-baseman Ty Odell's RBI single.

Odell led Columbia County's offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Matt May had the team's only other hit.

Valdosta -- 0 0 0 0 5 0 3 -- 8 11 2
Columbia Co. -- 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -- 1 3 2

Sammy Watson (W) and Will Stuckey. Chuck Harrington (L), Hampton Rowland (5), Sean Brodie (7) and Donald Johnson. 2B -- Scott Simpson (V), Stuckey (V), Bryan Felker 2 (V), Odell (CC).

Leading hitters: Valdosta -- Felker 3-4, Simpson 3-4, RBI. Columbia County -- Odell 2-3, RBI, Matt May 1-3.


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