LAUREL, Miss. — Albany 10-year-old Denver Bryant represented the state of Georgia in the Dixie Youth Baseball home run derby on Friday and hit just two over the fence.
Turns out, she was saving her home runs for when they really counted.
Bryant hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth in Saturday’s opening game of the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series, lifting the Albany American 9-10 year-old Dixie Team — which is playing as Team Georgia — to a thrilling 7-6 victory against Team Virginia.
Bryant’s shot to deep center broke a 6-6 tie and completed an improbably comeback for Albany, which fell behind 6-0 early in the game.
Albany is now 1-0 in the double-elimination tournament and needs four wins to advance to the championship game. Albany plays again at 7:30 p.m. today against Team South Carolina.
On Saturday, Virginia took advantage of walks and errors from Albany to jump ahead 6-0 by the end of the second inning, but Albany finally got on the board in the third inning to cut the lead to 6-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Albany’s Daymon Polite and Ardis Pickett each hit two-run singles and Christian Tolver scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, setting up Bryant’s go-ahead homer in the fifth.
Bryant, who is the only girl on Albany’s team and one of only a handful of girls in the entire Dixie World Series, was also the winning pitcher. She threw the final three innings, struck out six and allowed no hits.