Andy Dixie Majors stomp Ashford (Throwback Thursday)

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

Merrill Davis slides into second.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our “Throwback Thursday” series. This article is from our July 16, 1994 files.

Things may be back being “all good” for the Andalusia Dixie Majors.

The Saints used a five-hit first inning to start off an 18-3 drowning of Ashford in the loser’s bracket of the Dixie Majors district tournament held in Ozark Thursday night.

“We came in a lot more relaxed then we did against Troy,” Saints’ assistant Zane Johnson said. “I also thought we executed when we had too.”

Andalusia’s Ryan Thomas got it going when he singled, followed by a Merrill Davis RBI that turned into a double. Then Zack Steele walked and Steven Bledsoe ripped a line drive to center to load the bases. Bob Bentley mashed a sacrifice fly to drive in a run and expand the Andalusia lead to 2-0. Scott Jernigan stepped to the plate and added a single to again load the bases. Rhett Wilson didn’t fare as well as his teammates as he struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Kevin Madden, however, followed with a three-run shot to deep left field before being caught at second to end the inning for Andalusia with the score 5-0.

“We just hit the ball great,” Dixie assistant coach Heath Watkins said. “Hit well and we just came out ready to play.”

The Andalusia hitting display carried over to the second inning as the Saints added six more runs and completed the batting rotation.

Tim Ryan walked to start the second followed by a Thomas bunt and a Davis ground out to put runners in scoring position. Steele ripped a RBI triple that took the Ashford outfield to the wall, the hit scored two runs and gave the Saints a commanding 7-0 lead. Facing a 3-1 pitch, Bledsoe walked, followed by a Bentley grounder that sent Bledsoe to third and scored Steele. Jernigan then smacked a two-run double, bringing Andalusia’s score to 10-0. Andalusia added one more run from a Madden single before the end of the inning.

It was at that point in the game the Saints gave some of the their starters some much-needed rest.

“We decided we needed to give Merrill and Kevin some rest.” Johnson said. “It was also some good experience for the younger guys.”

Despite the changes, Ashford could not manage a run and the Saints just kept hitting.
“The guys off the bench hit especially well,” Watkins said, adding he was somewhat nervous about the substitutions at first. With good reasons, the Saints could not manage a hit during the inning.

Then in the fourth, Ashford loaded the bases with one out. But Wilson, who went to the mound to replace Thomas, fired in three strikes before Ashford scored its only two runs.

Andalusia got the hitfest going again in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Ryan added some excitement to what was becoming a lackluster game when he foul tipped a ball, knocking out a light. He went on to rip a one-run line drive to the center field wall to start a six-run streak.

Ashford got its final chance at bat in the top of the fifth, only managing one run before the game was called of the 10-run rule in Dixie baseball.

“We needed this game,” Watkins said. “I hope it will be a plus for us in the next game.”

The Saints are scheduled to face Troy at 5:30 p.m. today.  Troy beat Andalusia 10-0 Tuesday night in the opening round of the tournament. If the Saints beat Troy, they face Ozark at 4 p.m. Sunday; if they lose they are out of the tournament.