Bulldogs fall in World Series (Throwback Thursday)

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 13, 2015


Editor’s Note: This article is part of our “Throwback Thursday” series. This article is from our Aug. 2, 2000 files.


They get to keep the flag. That is their lasting reward for being the Alabama State Dixie Pre-Major Champions.


Andalusia’s great ride through the summer of 2000 ended Monday night with a disappointing 14-8 loss to Lakeland Florida at the Dixie Pre-Majors World Series in Guntersville.


By being the host-state champions, the Bulldogs were an instant favorite among the local partisans. Unfortunately, their Ogletree Park – while nice and scenic – was not conductive to a long run by a squad that was built around starting pitching.


Ogletree Park’s Dixie Major Field has some synonymous traits with Houston’s new Home Run Field, er Enron Field. Home runs come in bunches.


When I made the call to the field Monday night, the Guntersville public address announcer seemed to be thrilled about that fact that this Guntersville World Series had just set a new home run record for the tournament’s first 15 games.


“There has been 32 home runs hit so far this tournament,” he exclaimed.


Duh! With a fence that lies just 330-feet away from home plate in the power allies and center field, it’s no wonder.


Enterprise’s Warren Field was a much better venue for this caliber of tournament. They hosted the Word Series in 1997 and did such a good job with it they were able to land a six-year contract to host the Alabama Dixe Pre-Majors State Tournament.


Andalusia was able to make Warren Field’s spacious dimensions work well. And the Bulldogs were able hit five home runs out of Warren Field.


The main difference between the two sites is that home runs in Enterprise were legitimate shots. The ones hit at Ogletree, the exception being Ryan Mitchell’s blast on Sunday, were not.


Not coincidently, the Bulldogs 10-0 wipe out of Greenbrier, Tenn., came at Guntersville High School. That field was relatively short by high school standards, but fair. It was 340-to-the alley and 360 in center field. The big difference was that the park was protected by a 10-foot high fence.


But the bottom line, though, is that Andalusia didn’t pitch well enough to advance. Craig Phillips walked five batters on Sunday and four of those runners scored.


Lakeland was able to get runners on and then used four home runs to bring home scores in bunches.


Andalusia, meanwhile, hit the ball better as a team in the three games than they did in certain games at the State Tournament. They also hit five home runs. But when their long-balls flew out, the damage was limited to one or two runs.


Top kudos for the World Series goes to shortstop Will Starr, third baseman, Ryan Mitchell, pitchers Jay Bryant and Shane Prater and second baseman Mark Wall.


Starr bounced back from a sub-par state tournament, by ripping two home runs at Ogeltree Park. He had three hits in the loss to Georgia.


Wall drove in four runs in his first two games including three in the Saturday’s win over Greenbrier.


Bryant and Prater teamed up for a two-hit shutout of Greenbrier to lead the staff. Prater came back on Monday with a good middle relief performance.


Mitchell, like Starr, bounced back with a strong World Series. He smashed two home runs.


The guess here is that either Georgia or the Steel Belt, Texas Astros will likely win the tournament.