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Major victory!
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Mission accomplished.

On Saturday afternoon, the Newton County American All Stars clinched the state title by defeating host Albany Dixie, 6-5, during the 2007 Major League Dixie Youth Baseball State Championship.

Newton's Tray Hill drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the final inning, sealing the victory.

"I'm so proud of them I don't know how to describe it," said Newton head coach Sonny Jones of his team. "This says a lot about them; they (have) a lot of character."

It was the first time that a DYB team (11-12 years old) from Newton County has ever won a state title.

As a result, Newton will advance to the DYB World Series on August 6 in Madison Heights, Va.

Prior to securing a World Series lock, Newton had to win two games in a best-of-three championship series. In the end, the local product would need all three games.

During the first game of the series held Friday night, Newton lost to Albany, 4-3. Despite trailing 4-0 at one point - thanks in large part to an Albany grand slam - Newton battled back to score three runs; however, it could not complete the comeback.

Albany's Austin Murphy earned the save on the hill.

On Saturday, the Newton All Stars found themselves in unfamiliar territory, since they had previously won all five of their games in the state tournament.

"We were pretty loose," said Jones, recalling what his team was feeling like entering Saturday. "We felt like all along that it was going to be hard for (Albany) to beat us twice."

And Jones was correct, as the tables were turned Saturday morning after the second game ended. Newton tied the series by winning, 4-3, forcing a final game to be played later in the afternoon.

Overall, Newton scored a combined 50 runs in eight games throughout the tournament, averaging 6.25 runs per game. Defensively, Newton allowed just 14 runs - 12 of which came by way of Albany - equaling 1.75 runs per game.

For Albany, the loss was extremely difficult. Both teams competed in the DYB (9-10 year olds) championship two years ago; however, the result was the same, as Newton advanced. Furthermore, many of the same players and coaches were from the exact teams.

"The team we just beat was a heck of a team," praised Jones of his opponent. "Albany has a good team."

Led by Jones and assistant coaches Scott Walker and Bobby Wheeler, the Newton County American All Stars include Cameron Boyd, Sherman Graves, Hill, Jacob Jones, Tyler Manning, Cody Marlowe, Austin McCullough, Devin McDonald, Antonius Sims, Alex Smith, Cody Walker and Dalton Wheeler.

"I just feel good for the kids because they busted their tails," said Jones.