Dixie Majors: Heartland All-Stars Stop Polk's Championship Run
Wed. July 11, 2012 at 2:25 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
POLK ALL-STAR SHORTSTOP Davon Lopez tags Heartland's Matt Roberts on Tuesday in the Dixie Majors state championship game at Head Field in Avon Park. Polk fell 11-7. (Photo by LISA COFFEY | THE LEDGER )
By LISA COFFEY
AVON PARK | The Heartland area returned to the Dixie Major baseball program with a bang.
The Heartland All-Stars, with players from the Avon Park and Sebring areas, broke Polk's nine-year state championship streak Tuesday with an 11-7 victory at Head Field in Avon Park.
The Heartland area had been involved in the Dixie program off and on for the past few years.
Tuesday, Avon Park assistant baseball coach Chad Wright saw his team take advantage of Polk's miscues to break the long streak.
"They've done something that doesn't happen very often," he said of the victory.
The Heartland All-Stars advance to the Dixie Major (age 17-19) World Series in Mississippi beginning July 28.
Wright said he was not worried about the team's hitting as the tournament neared, but was concerned about the possibility of shaky pitching from his squad.
"We were solid," Wright said of Heartland's pitching. "Every day we got timely hits when we needed them. If we hit the ball like this week, we should be fine."
The Heartland All-Stars held Polk to 12 hits in two games.
The Polk team had just 12 players Tuesday, missing five players because of work commitments.
"It might have made a difference," said coach Adam Kemp.
The Polk team, with players from several area high schools, was less than sharp in the contest.
They committed three errors and saw a runner steal home while the Avon Park squad took advantage of the miscues. Polk also left seven runners on base.
Five of the Heartland All-Stars' 11 runs were unearned.
Three Polk pitchers combined to give up nine hits over seven innings. They hit one batter and issued seven walks in the loss.
"We gave them most of their runs," Kemp said. "They got a few big hits. Our pitching wasn't great, but when the pitchers got into jams, we should have got out of them. A couple of hits with people on base and we win this game."
Three Polk players slammed home runs — all solo shots.
Polk's George Kirkland (Lake Wales/Southeastern), Jose Hernandez (Lake Wales/St. Johns River) and Michael Peace (Auburndale) all went deep.
The two were tied 4-4 after three innings before the Heartland team tacked on seven runs on six hits over the fourth and fifth innings.
Twice Polk had the bases loaded and came away with only one run.
Trevor Moots (Lake Region) suffered the loss.