Crush storms to title

TUPELO – The Columbus Crush lived up to its nickname in this weekend’s USSSA 10-Under Girls Slow-Pitch World Series.
Columbus crushed six consecutive opponents, including the Booneville Heat, 20-9, in Saturday night’s championship game at Tupelo’s Eastwood Softball Complex.
“They really hit the ball; they crush it,” Heat coach Craig Lauderdale said. “We had a good first inning (six runs), but you’ve got to have that every inning against them.
“We were tired at the end, but the girls played hard. That’s all you can ask.”
The USSSA softball tournament was one of two big events being played in Tupelo this week. The Dizzy Dean World Series for 10- and 12-year-old baseball teams will continue at the Ballard Park SportsPlex through Wednesday.
Booneville played six games Saturday, including its 13-8 win against Amory’s Hall Contracting in the semifinals. A 5-1 loss earlier in the day sent the Heat into the loser’s bracket.
The Booneville club earned a rematch with a 14-3 win against Brown Park, La., and a last-inning 9-8 victory against the Columbus Cyclones.
The Crush outscored its opponents 112-21 in the tournament. One of those wins was a 20-0 decision against CrossFire from Sherman. They defeated Amory 13-3 to grab a berth in the title game.
“These girls have played great all weekend,” Crush coach Tim Frazier said. “They’re just a good group of girls. I’m proud of them.”
Itawamba in quarterfinals
In Saturday’s action at the Dizzy Dean 10-Year-Old World Series at SportsPlex, Itawamba defeated Alabama state champion, Irondale, 8-5, to advance to today’s 5:30 p.m. winner’s bracket quarterfinals.
The Fulton-based team, which won the North state championship, will play East Brainerd, Tenn.
Itawamba banged out 14 hits against Irondale and has batted .344 as a team in its two tournament games.
However, the difference for the Mississippi entry has been its pitching.
Itawamba used four pitchers in Saturday’s win in an effort to save innings for its mound staff. Tyler Patterson, Braxton Carroll, Nathan Wilemon and Grant Johnson combined to hold Irondale to six hits.
Carroll, a reliever, was the winning pitcher while Johnson, the starter in Friday’s opening 10-7 win against Northport, Ala., pitched the final inning for the save against Irondale.
“We’ve been trying to keep everybody under the innings-pitched limit,” Itawamba coach Roy Johnson said. “We’ve gotten good pitching and good hitting.”
Wilemon paced Itawamba at the plate with three hits, including a double. Jake Smith and Drew Hill also doubled while Patterson, Carroll and Russell Bunch had two hits apiece.
Lynn Haven, Fla., will play Oak Mountain, Ala., at 5:30 p.m. today in the other winner’s bracket quarterfinal.
In the 12-Year-Old World Series, also at SportsPlex, Fossil Park, Fla., plays Jefferson Parrish, La. at 3 p.m. and Northport, Ala., takes on Pensacola, Fla., at 5:30 p.m. in today’s winner’s bracket quarterfinals.

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal