Dixie tourney ends with blast

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The end of the 2016 Cannon County Dixie Youth Association season was last weekend as six champions were crowned in each of the age divisions during the annual postseason tournament. The action was so great the Cannon Courier has decided to break up the coverage into two back-to-back issues with the June 27 edition recapping the Minors 9/12 kid pitch, 9U softball coach pitch and the 14U softball kid pitch postseason.

(T-Ball 3/4) First National Bank Rattlers 14, Rutherford County Monuments Grasshoppers 11

The youngest players in the league showed the biggest hearts on June 9 as the Rattlers came from behind in their final at-bat with seven runs to win the title. However, the Grasshoppers should also be proud with their runner-up finish since they were the No. 4 seed out of six teams, and they knocked off the No. 1 seed in the semifinals.

The tournament was single-elimination, and each of the games played a one hour, 15 minute time limit. During each half inning, every player got to bat once, but the same team could not score more than seven runs per at bat. This championship game lasted two full innings.

The Grasshoppers scored five runs in the top of the first. However, the Rattlers prevented two more runs when pitcher Jordan Clark had two force outs at the plate. In the bottom of the first, the Rattlers reached the seven run limit when Avery Moore hit it to the outfield grass with a double, which gave them the 7-5 advantage after one inning.

The Grasshoppers answered with six runs in the top of the second, including Zoie Mingle outrunning the Rattler defense at the plate to tie the score at seven. Clark made another defensive force out at home, which limited the Grasshoppers to an 11-7 score.

The Rattlers won the game in the bottom of the second as time ran out, and Avery Moore singled home three runs to give them the win and the title.

"I am super proud of each one of them," Rattlers head coach Hope Young, who is also the athletic trainer at Cannon County High School said. "We could not have done it without a single one of those kiddos. They all did an amazing job this year."

Grasshoppers head coach Jamie Hackney added in a hard fought defeat, "They improved every game, and I was proud of them. We played the right way and the fair way. They were great little kids, and I am very proud of them for getting this far."

(5/6 Coach Pitch) Parsley's Market & Deli Grasshoppers 11, JW's Collision Center Thunder 10

This title game turned into late night at the ballpark on June 10 instead of the scheduled morning contest on June 11, because of the near 100 degree heat. Both coaches decided to play at 9 p.m. last Friday night, and the game lived up to the hype as it was decided in walk off fashion.

"I was actually excited that Jeff (Gannon) asked us to play tonight, because it was going to be too hot tomorrow," Thunder head coach Ashley Alford said. "The kids play hard, but they do not play as hard in the heat."

The time limit was one hour. The Grasshopper defense came to play in the top of the first as they held the Thunder scoreless, which is really hard to do at this age level.

In the bottom of the first, Camden Pruitt got the Grasshopper crowd excited with an inside the park Grand Slam to put them up 5-0 after one inning. The defense once again held the Thunder scoreless in the top of the second, and the Grasshoppers added three more runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 8-0 advantage after two innings.

In the top of the third inning, the Thunder got on the board with six runs as every player got on base during the at-bat as they also played some great defense during the bottom half by forcing the Grasshoppers to no runs with three consecutive outs as they were only down, 8-6 after three innings.

August Morris gave the Thunder the lead in the top of the fourth with an inside-the-park Grand Slam of their own to make it 10-8 as time ran out. However, TYBA rules state the home team still gets to bat even with the time limit being reached.

The Grasshoppers won it the bottom of the fourth when Alex Gannon singled home Brody Franklin to make the score, 10-9, and Pruitt hit a walk off double, which scored Gannon and Garyin Gibbs to win the title, 11-10.

"I am just excited, I do not know what to say," Grasshoppers head coach Jeff Gannon said. "I am proud of my kids, I am proud of their kids. They are awesome, and they did a great job this year."

Alford added, "I am super, super proud of our team. They came a long way this year. I am proud of my kids tonight, because they played their hearts out. We have kept them uplifted, motivated and encouraged, and that was the best thing tonight."

(7/8 Coach Pitch) Crane Interiors Bulls 14, Murfreesboro Anesthesia Group Rockhounds 6

Coming into the day of June 11, the Rockhounds had the unbelievable task of winning three games on the same day in over 90 degree heat to win the title, but they almost pulled it off.

The Bulls were the No. 1 seed in the double elimination tournament losing two games all season, including once to their finals opponent. While, the Rockhounds advanced to the finals after defeating the Lake Monsters in the losers' bracket finals earlier in the morning, 17-12. Now, they had to beat the Bulls in back-to-games to win the title.

In the top of the first, the Bulls held the Rockhounds to only one run, including an amazing double play by their second baseman, Landon Murphy where he caught the pop-fly and beat the Rockhound runner back to first base for the force out. Lukas Phillips tripled home Brayden Smithson during the same at-bat for the Rockhounds to put them ahead 1-0.

However, the Rockhounds defense made some plays of their own when Joshua Phillips forced two outs at second to hold the Bulls scoreless after one inning. They added another run in the top of the second when Cody Prater singled home Denver Jones to make the score 2-0.

The Bulls finally got on the board in the bottom of the second when Lane Southworth doubled down the third base line scoring Eli Morris. They tied the score when Landon Murphy hit a sac fly to Lukas Phillips, but it scored Owen Prine to even the score at two.

The Rockhounds added their final four runs of the game in the top of the third, including a triple by Brett Smithson which scored Joshua Phillips, and Jones knocked in two more runs, Brayden Smithson and Lukas Phillips on a force play at second to give them a 6-2 advantage.

However, the Bulls blew open the game in the bottom of the third with seven runs, including a single by Morris which scored Waylon Crawford as he beat the tag home by sliding in safely. Prine and Landon Murphy each hit two run singles to give the Bulls a 9-6 advantage after three innings.

The Bulls force a three and out in the top of the fourth, and they finished off the championship with five runs in the bottom half, including an inside-the-park two-run homer by Murphy to win, 14-6.

"We have been waiting for this day all year long," Bulls head coach Jeremy Morris said. "We are excited about this win. It paid off, when have been going to fall ball last year and our team has been working on this. I am excited for them."

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