Dothan sent 12 players to the plate in the bottom of the fourth and scored nine runs to complete a 12-0 mercy-rule victory over Fairhope on the opening day of the Dixie Junior Boys (13U) State Tournament on Saturday at the Miracle Field Complex.
Fairhope managed just one hit – that coming from Barrett Cain in the first inning – off three Dothan pitchers.
Bowden Lancaster worked the first three innings on the mound for Dothan, while Gant Underwood and Harrison Hicks each pitched in the fourth.
Dothan advances to play Opelika on Sunday at 1 p.m. Opelika defeated Troy 3-2 in its opener of the four-team, double-elimination tournament. Troy and Fairhope drop into the loser’s bracket and will play at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
With Dothan up 3-0 after three innings, Fairhope loaded the bases off with nobody out of three straight walks from Underwood. Hicks then entered to pitch and the Dothan defense pulled off a nifty double play.
Willis Norton hit a grounder to Lancaster, who had moved to first base at the top of the inning. Lancaster fired home to catcher Matt Dave Snell for the first out, and Snell fired back to first in time to complete the double play.
After Hicks walked the next batter, Matthew Barnard grounded out to Hicks to end the inning.
Dothan coach Brandon Dyer said his team has the luxury of having plenty of pitchers in case anyone is struggling.
“We’re going to have a short leash on all of them, because we’ve got eight or nine pitchers on this team,” Dyer said. “And that’s the thing – these kids can come out and not have the pressure on them as they would if they were on a team with only two pitchers.”
Dothan put the game away in the bottom of the fourth after the first three batters reached on an error and two walks.
Lancaster was hit with a pitch to bring in the first run of the inning to make it 4-0 then Snell ripped a line drive up the middle to bring in two more in giving Dothan a 6-0 advantage.
A single by Underwood loaded the bases again and Adam Boyd followed with a sacrifice fly into right field to score another and the rout was on.
Win Brock walked with the bases loaded to make it 8-0. Hicks drove in a run with a single. Connor Cody walked with the bases loaded to make it 10-0 and Brock scored from third on a wild pitch.
The final run came when Aiden Wright hit a grounder and Hicks came in to end the game by way of the 12-run mercy rule after four innings.
“Today we hit the ball pretty good,” Dyer said. “Bowden Lancaster settled in pitching and we got the bats going a little bit.”
Dothan scored the first run of the game in the opening inning when Underwood singled in Lancaster, who had singled to open the frame and stole second and third bases.
Dothan showed it will be aggressive on the base paths.
“We’re going to continue to steal until they prove to us they can throw us out,” Dyer said. “We’ve got a lot of quick runners, we work on base running and I think that’s a big advantage to us as well.”
Dothan added two more runs in the second. Brock tripled to deep right field to lead off and scored when a fly ball off the bat of Hicks was dropped at second base. Another run came across when Hicks scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
“The biggest thing about this team is we have so many good athletes,” Dyer said. “It’s kind of hard when you have 13 kids, subbing them in and out, but it doesn’t matter which nine we have on the field at the time, they all can get the job done.”