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Nationals advance in tourney

COVINGTON - A two-run homer by Newton County National Alex Parish put Blake Shope in position to end the game with a two-run, walk-off homer of his own in the bottom of the fourth inning as the National team beat West Augusta 15-4 in the third round of the Dixie Youth Baseball Major State Tournament on Monday.

The National team plays the winner of Monday's Troup County/Lee County game today at 8 p.m.

"Both are very good teams," National coach Mike Bloodworth said. "I ain't taking nothing away from them but I've got a very good team. We're going to play them hard. It's going to be tough for both of us."

Unfortunately, the Newton County Americans lost to the Albany Americans 7-4 as a result of a walk-off homer in the sixth inning.

As a result of the loss, the American team was eliminated from the tournament.

West Augusta got on the scoreboard first when Newton County looked for a call on a throw to second allowing the runner to score from third.

West Augusta almost scored another run but Austin Richardson was able to throw the batter out at first, from center field, for the final out negating the would-be second run.

"If there's going to be a big play made, Austin is going to be the one to make it. He gives it 110 percent," Bloodworth said.

Even though Newton County trailed, it also got the home team riled.

After taking a 3-1 lead, two runs scored by walks with bases loaded, Trevor Simmons hit a two-run double to make it 5-1. Newton County scored two more runs to take a 7-1 advantage after two innings.

"We told them if you want to come back (today) you're going to have to pay to get in. You don't want to go home, this is our home. That fired them up at the end of the inning," Bloodworth said.

After giving up two runs in the top of the third, Newton County answered by scoring three in the home half off a base-clearing double by Chase Gilstrape to make it 10-3.

West Augusta tried to fight back scoring one in the fourth but Newton County's bats were too hot as they ended the game with two two-run dingers.

"It feels really good (to win). We had a tough game (Sunday). We talked to the boys about waking the bats up because we're a better hitting team. They woke the bats up and hit the ball," Bloodworth said.

Newton County finished the game with 11 hits with Parish and Simmons leading the way going 2-for-2.

"Conner Hewell pitched very well. We left him in there for four innings and he was pitching good," Bloodworth said. "We were going to take him out after three but he said he felt good and he could handle the pitching."

In the Newton County-Albany game, Newton County took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second when DeAnthony Bell powered the ball into the parking lot.

"That was his first hit of the tournament," Newton County American coach Jessie Johnston said. "We told him he had to come out of it and he did."

However, Albany tied the game in bottom of the inning.

Alex Fowler and Augustus Murray gave Newton County another two-run lead after scoring in the third. But once again Albany responded with two runs of their own to tie the game.

After not being able to add to their tally in the sixth, Albany's Mike Whatley ended the game with a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

"They won state last year," Johnston said. "I knew they were going to be tough. We had them scared a little bit. My boys played awesome. They played their hearts out, I was proud of them."

In Sunday's games, Newton County National eliminated Buford with a 9-3 win while the American team removed Duluth from the tournament with a 7-6 decision.

A team from Newton County, the Southern, was the first local team to exit from the tournament after losing to the Albany Dixie 1-0.