According to Walter Golden, owner and general manager of the Algoma Sluggers semi-pro Tombigbee Valley Waterway League team, it has been 33 years, back to 1986, since the last time the Sluggers won the Water Way League championship. This could be their year, however, as they currently lead the league. Algoma is led by unusually solid pitching from Brett McDonald (junior at Ingomar High School, Adam Berry (Pontotoc High senior), Andrew Hooper and Ramone Boone.
A weakened McDonald, we later learned from unrelated intense exertion earlier, took the start for the Sluggers against Holly Springs on June 23 in the late afternoon heat and humidity. McDonald was only able to pitch one shutout inning before giving up 5 runs in the second on two hits, an error and 5 walks. He was relieved by Adam Berry, who got the final out and went on to pitch through the sixth inning of the heat shortened seven inning game. Berry scattered only 2 more hits and allowed 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings, 3 of which were scoreless frames.
Andrew Hooper retired the side in the seventh, but the 7 runs were enough as Poplar Springs’ Brandon Crawford changed speeds continually in a complete game victory. Crawford did not allow a run until the fifth, when the Sluggers plated one after consecutive hits by Malchus Hall, Martavious Bell, and Paxton McCoy. The Sluggers finally figured him out in the seventh. They closed out the contest with a 3-run final inning rally off an error, doubles by Hall and McCoy and a final RBI hit by Andrew Berry before ultimately falling by the final of 7-4.
On July 4th the Sluggers defeated Poplar Springs 4-2 on the road. Brett McDonald was the winning pitcher, hurling 4 shut out innings.
On Sunday, June 23 Poplar Springs defeated the Springville Cardinals 10-8. Poplar Springs struck first in the game by scoring 3 runs in the first. Springville plated 3 runs in the third to tie things up. They took the lead in the 5th when Peco Townsend was hit by a pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice. After 5 innings coach Sonny Williams relieved starter Lynn Dillard with Chance Witt, who struggled finding the plate and Poplar Springs scored 7 runs before he stopped the bleeding with Algimi Davis. Springville scored 2 in the 6th and 2 more in the 7th to come within 2 runs, but that was as close as they would get. Coach Williams said he was proud of the way the guys fought back, but they just could not overcome a bad 6th inning.
The following Sunday (June 30) the Cardinals bounced back. Chance Witt redeemed himself, pitching 6 strong innings with 8 strikeouts and allowing only 1 run against a very good Holly Springs team. Hayden Guin, Will Hawkins, M.J. McWhorter, and Drew Eddington all had 2 hits. Andre Yates went 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored in the Cardinals' 10-3 win.
Both the Sluggers and Cardinals were rained out this last weekend.