Hattiesburg wins 9-10 state championship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2000

Experience helped the Hattiesburg American All-Stars score back-to-back state Dixie Youth titles with Thursday’s win in the 9-10 championship game, their coach said.

Hattiesburg pounded out 10 hits – six of which were doubles – against Carthage in the 8-1 win. Hattiesburg also had a complete-game no-hitter from winning pitcher Tyler Kittrell.

&uot;This is the hardest working group as I’ve had in my 15 years of coaching because we know what a special group this is,&uot; Hattiesburg head coach Tommy Kittrell said.

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&uot;Last year we had seven nine-year-olds, six of which were starting, so we had experience on our side.&uot;

Tyler Kittrell struck out 10 and walked eight batters, four in the sixth inning.

&uot;It was tough going through it,&uot; Tyler said. &uot;I thought I had to be the winning pitcher. It surprised me that I pitched a no-hitter, especially with this being state.&uot;

&uot;Our pitching staff is the anchor of our team,&uot; coach Kittrell said.

Hattiesburg had a chance to score in the first inning as Tyler Morgan doubled and moved to third on a passed ball and Darryl Bourne walked and stole second.

Carthage pitcher Allen Johnson then got Kittrell and Adrian Jones to strike out and Jerrod Smith ground out to second to stop that threat.

Hattiesburg left eight runners on base in the game.

&uot;Carthage made the plays when it had to,&uot; coach Kittrell said. &uot;Their players did the job when they had to.&uot;

Hattiesburg then scored two runs in the second.

Steven Graves doubled and scored on a double by Robert O’Neal, who later scored on an error.

&uot;They had a big pitcher out there so I to hit it,&uot; O’Neal said.

Smith then showed off his arm behind the plate in the top of the third as he threw out Garner Brooks and Mikey Cochran, both of whom attempted to steal second on him.

&uot;They were running so I had to throw it,&uot; Smith said. &uot;I was surprised they ran on me.&uot;

&uot;Jerrod Smith is the best catcher I’ve ever coached,&uot; coach Kittrell said. &uot;He has no weaknesses at all.&uot;

Hattiesburg then added one run in the bottom of the third as Morgan scored on a throwing error by Johnson to third base.

After Graves singled and O’Neal doubled, Joshua Hubbell doubled to bring in both runners for a 5-0 lead.

&uot;Both times I was just so relaxed,&uot; Graves said. &uot;I took batting practice before the game and that really pumped me up.&uot;

&uot;After my first at-bat coach told me to keep my head up, watch the ball and rip it,&uot; Hubbell said.

Hattiesburg scored its final three runs of the game in the fifth inning, all with two outs.

Morgan reached first on a fielder’s choice and scored on a ground-rule double by Bourne.

&uot;I got it on the sweet spot,&uot; Bourne said. &uot;I hit it so hard I got a mark on the ball. I like the way it felt.

Kittrell singled to score Bourne and scored himself on an error.

Kittrell then walked the first three batters he faced in the top of the sixth inning.

With one out, Jacob Tolleson’s fielder’s choice scored Austin Byrd for Carthage’s only run of the game.

Kittrell got Conner Herrington to hit a ground ball to shortstop with the bases loaded for the final out.

Johnson suffered the loss for Carthage, giving up eight runs (six earned) and 10 hits while striking out six and walking two in five innings.