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National champs get eliminated

The Hernando Youth League's Dixie Majors season ended well short of its 2000 plateau.

The team of 17-18-year-olds was ousted Tuesday from the loser's bracket of the double-elimination state tournament.

HYL, the 2000 national champion, was eliminated in a 6-5, eight-inning loss to Chipley after reliever Nicky Westbrook walked in the winning run.

HYL had taken a 5-4 lead in the top of the inning when Jerad Brotherwood singled home Dee Brown, but Chipley got a homer off reliever Jeremy Balogh to tie it.

Chipley loaded the bases with one out on a hit batsmen and a single, failed to score on a foul out down the right-field line, then recorded the winner with two outs.

HYL coach Tim Sims said it was evident teams were excited to play the champs.

"We knew coming in, when you're the defending national champ, teams play you a lot differently than if you were the state champ," Sims said. "Milton (which beat Hernando 2-1) and Chipley were both very committed to playing a complete baseball game against us."