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Richardson, Williams help team win tournament opener

ALPHARETTA -- Austin Richardson and Anthony Williams had a lot to say about their team's opening game of the World Wood Bat 15-Under National Championship.

Richardson's ground ball turned into an error and the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh and Williams teamed up with Kevin Smith on a one-hit shutout as Team Demarini defeated So Cal NTT 1-0 Friday at Mt. Pisgah Christian School.

The game was scoreless in the seventh before William Mapes, playing on his home field, singled down the left field line. After a sacrifice bunt, Williams, a rising junior at Heritage, was hit by a pitch. Richardson, a rising junior at Alcovy, hit a sharp ground ball to first base and Ezekiel Berg, trying to turn a double play, threw the ball away at second base. Mapes raced home for what turned out to be the game's only run.

Williams, a catcher coming off an excellent sophomore season at Heritage, and Smith, a left-hander at Dunwoody High School, formed a dynamic battery. Smith gave up a leadoff double to Geoffrey Grier in the bottom of the first, but didn't allow another hit the rest of the way. Grier tried to steal second later in the inning, but Williams' high throw was corralled by third baseman Spencer Shields to help Smith toss a scoreless frame. The last threat for So Cal NTT, a national travel team based out of June Lake, California, came in the third when Smith walked a pair of batters with two outs, then struck out Grier to escape.

The second walk turned out to be So Cal NTT's final base runner. Starting with the strike out of Grier, Smith retired the last 13 batters he faced -- 10 by strikeout -- in the 102-pitch gem.

So Cal NTT starter Samuel High was matching Smith pitch-for-pitch, though the right-hander was the tough-luck loser. High didn't allow a hit until Mapes' lead off single in the seventh and left after hitting Williams. Carson Hall relieved and looked to have at least one out on Richardson's ground ball, but Berg hurried the throw and it sailed into left-center field.

Team Demarini, based out of Alpharetta, lost its second game of the tournament 8-4 to the Austin Banditos on Saturday morning, and will play two games today -- at 11:30 a.m. against Ironman Baseball Club back at Mt. Pisgah and at 4:30 p.m. against SBA Canes Black at Alpharetta High School.