Defying the odds once again, the Cottonwood 12U baseball team defeated Lexington twice on Tuesday – 4-0 and 7-2 – to win the Dixie Youth Ozone Division II state championship in Tuscaloosa.
Austyn Miller pitched a no-hitter in the opening win over Lexington, going all six innings for the shutout. In the finale, Braylon Morris scattered three hits in 5 1/3 innings on the mound to pick up the win, while Jayven Coachman drove in a run and Jackson Davis had two RBIs to lead the way at the plate.
Cottonwood advances to the Dixie Youth Ozone World Series in Lumberton, N.C., beginning July 26. Cottonwood, representing Alabama, is scheduled to play Mt. Pleasant, N.C., on the opening day of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
Cottonwood coach Dustin Morris isn’t surprised by what his team was able to accomplish.
“There is no quit in these boys,” Morris said. “We’ve been down so many times. In district play, we were losing to Ariton 8-1 and came back and scored 14 unanswered runs to get to the finals of district play, and then we beat Wicksburg (to win district).”
Cottonwood took its first loss in the double-elimination bracket on Saturday, the second day of the state tournament, by dropping a 14-8 decision to Munford. A day later, against the same Munford team, Cottonwood trailed 3-0 before rallying to win 5-4 to stay alive in the tournament.
Klete Meadows slammed a three-run homer to begin the rally against Munford before Cottonwood won it in extra innings in the bottom of the eight when Jayden Garrett drove in the winning run in walk-off fashion.
On Monday, Cottonwood defeated Wicksburg 9-2 to advance to the championship round against Lexington. In the win over Wicksburg, Miller pitched didn’t allow a hit in four innings on the mound, while Hunter Edmonson pitched the fifth and Jaxxon Davis the final inning.
Morris said he believes this is the first state championship for a youth baseball team ever in Cottonwood. The team went 5-1 in the state tournament.
“Keep in mind with these boys, we had one rec team all year,” Morris said. “All the kids pretty much go to school together in a small town and they’re just family.”