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Brewton Royals, EB Cardinals earn spots in tournament final

By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
After two rounds of the Brewton-East Brewton Little League City Tournament being held at Sportsman's Park, only the East Brewton Cardinals and Brewton Royals remain standing in the 11-12 year-old division.
The Cardinals defeated the Brewton Rockies in Tuesday's opening-round game before gaining Friday's championship final with a victory over the East Brewton Dodgers on Thursday.
The Royals, who received an opening-round bye due to their regular-season record, notched a Thursday night win over the Brewton Reds to earn the other spot in the championship game.
East Brewton Cardinals 8 East Brewton Dodgers 1
A semifinal meeting between the Dodgers and Cardinals featured the first and second place teams in the East Brewton Little League's 11-12 year division.
While the Dodgers entered the tournament as East Brewton's top-ranked team, the Cardinals followed closely on their heels and looked to lock-down a spot in the finals by knocking-off the league leader.
With a 16-hit offensive barrage and a dominant performance from starting pitcher Justin Payne, the Cardinals accomplished their goal to the tune of an 8-1 win.
After the first three innings were played to a scoreless tie, the Cardinals drew first blood in the top half of the fourth. Moving two baserunners across the plate, the Cardinals led 2-0 before a lone Dodger run in the bottom of the inning cut the lead to 2-1.
In the fifth inning, the Cardinals seriously warmed-up the bats and, in the process, put the game out of reach. Four base hits coupled with two Dodger errors accounted for four more runs that pushed the Cardinals' advantage to 6-1. Then, two addition runs in the sixth inning ended the scoring at 8-1 and put the wraps on a Cardinals' victory.
Payne's winning performance from the mound was highlighted by a four-hitter and 12 strikeouts.
Pacing the Cardinal offense were Tyler Cross, 3-for-4; Justin Payne, 3-for-4 and Dodson Herrington, 2-for-3.
Offensive leaders for the Dodgers were Jacob Cannon, 3-for-3 and William Shell, 1-for-3.
Brewton Royals 8
Brewton Reds 7
The second semifinal game pitting the Brewton Royals against the Brewton Reds was a seesaw battle that remained in question until the final out.
After building a 7-3 lead at the end of three innings, the Royals were forced to win the game with their last at bat after the Reds mounted a determined rally that tied the game at 7-7. However, the Royals did just that with a run in the bottom of the sixth that pulled out a hard-fought 8-7 win.
Scoring two runs in the first inning along with four in the second and one in the third, the Royals seemed in control of the contest with a 7-3 lead.
After a scoreless fourth inning, however, the Reds went on an offensive attack that jeopardized the Royals' leading position. Three runs in the fifth inning closed the gap to 7-6, and then another run in the top of the sixth deadlocked the game at 7-7.
Needing a score to prevent extra innings as they came to bat in the bottom of the sixth, the Royals did what was necessary to nail-down the win. With two outs and a runner on second, a pop fly that fell between shortstop and left field allowed the runner to come home and secure an 8-7 Royals' victory.
The Royals' Sam Sharpe, Garrett Robinson and Evan Burkett combined their efforts from the mound in the win.
Leading the Royals' offense were Todd Robinson, 3-for-4; Abe Hildreth, 1-for-2 and Corey Rilling, 1-for-3.
Houston Simmons and Mabry Cook each went 2-for-4 in leading the Reds' offensive efforts.