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Greenville Debs earn Runner-Up at DWS

BY BRUCE BRANUM

The Greenville Standard

 

The Alabama/Greenville Dixie Debs after playing four games under a sweltering Louisiana sun of near or above 100 degree heat are set to play for the Dixie World Series Championship on Monday, July 31 at 5:30 p.m.

They will face the host team, Alexandria, La., who is currently undefeated with four wins.

Greenville earned their bid to the championship by winning three of four games. They will have to play Alexandria twice to claim the championship.

Their first opponent was Tennessee at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 30. The Camellia City Debs had a bit of a slow start hitting, but a solid defensive and pitching effort kept Tennessee at bay until the Greenville bats came alive and they cruised to a 10-0 win after the sixth inning.

The Camellia City Debs scored five runs in the third inning adding three more in the fifth and two in the sixth to 10-run rule Tennessee.

Greenville pitcher Skylar Bates earned the win, striking out eight of 12 batters in four innings. Pitcher, Natalie Skipper finished the last two innings, facing six batters with one strikeout.

Offensive standouts were Ceil Gregory with three hits and an RBI, Skipper had a single, double and two RBI’s. Lexi Reaves had a double and a RBI; CeCe Bullard followed with same. Sy’Nya Edwards added a single and two RBI’s with Layla McCall getting a single and Zoe Conway adding an RBI. Six of 11 players scored at least one or more runs.

In their second game of the tournament, Greenville faced North Carolina at 7 p.m. and was handed their first loss of the tournament 6-0.

The Greenville bats were quiet except for Skipper who had two singles. Greenville left 12 runners stranded on base. Skipper was the losing pitcher but gave a yeoman’s effort, hurling five innings and recording seven strikeouts while facing 24 batters.

Greenville then went into the loser bracket and was paired against Mississippi on Sunday, July 30, at 9 a.m. and they won 8-3.

Bates was given the starting pitcher nod and pitched six innings facing 23 batters, striking out three. Skipper added one strikeout in the seventh.

Pitching, defense and batting were Greenville’s strong point in this game with big plays by Bullard, Edwards, Skipper, and Conway.

The Camellia City Debs scored one run in the first, one in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, and one in the seventh.

Top batters for Greenville were Lauren Houston with two singles and a triple, Reaves with two singles, and Bullard with a double. Five of 11 players score at least one or more runs.

Greenville next faced North Carolina for the evening game starting at 7 p.m. From the outset, the Greenville Debs had made up their mind they were not going to lose.

Their offense was hot and their defense solid, winning 7-5 in seven innings after holding off a run by North Carolina in the seventh inning.

Bates again got the starting pitcher call and recorded six strikeouts while face 19 batters in four innings. Skipper closed the game and had one strike out facing 16 batters over three innings.

Greenville scored two runs in the first, three in the third, and one each for the fourth and fifth inning. North Carolina scored two in the third and tried to come back with three scores in the seventh but Greenville’s defense made solid plays to close the door on North Carolina’s hope of advancing to the championship.

Offensively, Gregory led with three hits, Edwards added two hits and a RBI, and Skipper, McCall and Bullard all contributed hits in the winning effort.

In their final game against the Debs of Alexandria, La., Greenville lost 17-0. Jitters and errors came at cost. Other factors were a lack of a stable full of pitchers and the Greenville bats seemed to hit the ball directly at Alexandria players.

Coach Ann Steiner Gregory said about the team, “I was one who thought we’d come here, go 0-2, and come home just happy to have gotten the chance to play. Boy was I wrong!!

“These girls played lights out Sunday. Defensively, they were nearly perfect. Offensively, we strung together hit after hit, and overcame an automatic out situation that really could’ve sealed our fate.

“But it didn’t. We overcame! And we put two more solid wins on the board to end the day 3-1 and headed to the championship game.

“Words can’t describe how proud I am of each of them. Their character, determination, and sportsmanship shine even brighter than their athleticism. It’s been noticed by officials and staff at the tournament, and I know you can see it through the videos that have been shared here. There’s just something about those Greenville girls!!”

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