The letters across the jerseys may read Mudcats, but the players wearing them proudly represent Dothan, the newly-crowned Dixie Boys Baseball 14U state champions.
In what’s been an abbreviated youth baseball season due to COVID-19, 11 players from Dothan went to Opelika and brought home a state title after going unbeaten in the four-team, open-invitation tournament.
The Mudcats defeated the Showstoppers (Smiths Station) 8-1 on Friday before beating Fairhope twice in the double-elimination tournament — 10-4 on Saturday and 5-3 in the finale on Sunday.
While Dothan Leisure Services did offer a regular season for Dixie Boys Baseball this summer once getting the clearance from Gov. Kay Ivey to allow youth sports to resume, it was noted from the start DLS would not be involved in sending any representatives to tournaments this year.
Thus, when Dixie Boys Baseball decided to host state 13U and 14U tournaments in Opelika this past weekend for those interested with travel ball teams also allowed, coach Brandon Dyer pulled together a group who won the state 13U Junior Dixie Boys title last year as the Dothan representative.
“That team that we took was pretty much a travel ball team that I’ve always had called the Mudcats,” said Dyer, who also coached the Dothan 13U state champs last year.
“This team is just the most complete team that I’ve ever coached. We have 11 kids on the team and all 11 kids can pitch and just about play anywhere. Depending on who was on the mound, we lined up differently. Pitching was lights out.”
By winning the tournament, the Mudcats qualified for the Dixie Boys Baseball World Series, which begins Aug. 1 in Sterlington, La.
Dyer said he will wait to receive more information on the World Series, such as how many teams plan to attend, before deciding if the Mudcats will make the trip to represent Alabama.
The following is a rundown on the Mudcats’ victories in the state tournament:
Mudcats 8, Showstoppers 1: Adam Boyd started on the mound and got the win in the opener with seven strikeouts. Boyd, Win Brock, Cam Dyer and Gant Underwood combined for 13 strikeouts and only gave up two hits.
Matt Dave Snell led the team with four hits and two RBIs.
Mudcats 10, Fairhope 4: Aiden Wright started on the mound and got the win. Bowden Lancaster, Connor Cody and Underwood also pitched and combined for 11 strikeouts.
The Mudcats had 14 hits, led by Dyer going 3-for-4, and Underwood with two solo home runs. Lancaster, Underwood, Cole Ethridge and Chapel Stickler had two hits each.
Mudcats 5, Fairhope 3: The championship game was scoreless until the top of the fifth when Fairhope broke on top 2-0.
The Mudcats tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning and then went up 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth before closing out the win for the title.
Boyd and Lancaster had two hits each to lead the Mudcats. Boyd, Cody and Underwood combined on the mound.
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