June 28, 2009
With only a few days to regroup and rest after a grueling camp at Delta State University, the Columbus Falcons encountered the effects of sweltering heat and potent offensive opponents in the Dizzy Dean High School World Series on Friday.
Columbus lost 10-3 to Center Hill and 9-5 to defending Dizzy Dean World Series champion Ridgeland on the opening day of the tournament.
Columbus coach Jeff Cook was well aware of the difficulties of keeping his team on task during the World Sereis..
"We came out focused and ready to play and they jumped on us early," Cook said. "We battled back, but just couldn''t get the big hit."
Center Hill outfielder Kyle Davis connected for a three-run homer in the bottom of the first to give his team an early 3-0 lead.
Stefan Hairston answered with a solo shot of over 355 feet over right center field to give Columbus its first run.
"I thought the home run might get the team going," Hairston said. "We wanted to get a rally going."
Columbus closed the gap to 6-3 in the top of the third on Nick Durrah''s one- out bases loaded two- run single. The Falcons failed to capitalize with more runs when the next two batters flied out to end the inning.
Center Hill scored four more runs and starting pitcher Cody Dougher held Columbus scoreless for the remaining four innings.
Hairston, a senior at Columbus High School, stressed the importance of the experienced players providing leadership for the younger ones.
"We came out early and went to the batting cages" Hairson said. "We were pumped and wanted to win this game. It''s important to have good leadership on the team and we try to help out with the younger players."
Nick Durrah started the game for the Falcons against Ridgeland.
After two scoreless innings, Ridgeland jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third.
Avery Ford entered the game to pitch for Columbus with two outs and the Falcons trailing 7-0 in the top of the fourth. He forced Ridgeland''s Hunter Twitty to ground out to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, Columbus catcher Josh Tentoni reached on a one-out fielder''s choice to load the bases. Durrah walked and scored a run to make the score 7-2.Ground outs by the next two batters ended this Columbus opportunity.
Tentoni is another senior providing leadership to the younger players.
"We thought we had momentum going, but did not get hits in key situations," Tentoni said. "With a man on second and third with one out they either got picked off or a run down or we did not put the ball in play."
The Falcons again staged a rally in the bottom of the sixth to get back into the game when Chris McCullough walked, Christian Dale singled, and Dylan Patel singled to drive in two runs with the help of an outfielder''s error.
Dale entered the game to pitch the top of the seventh and set Ridgeland down in order.
Columbus could not rally in the bottom of the seventh and ended the contest down by four runs.
"As a team we pressed too hard," Tentoni said. "This summer we went 11-1. We did not hit well the first game and second game we did not hit the ball in key situations and pressed too hard. We did not make them make plays. But they made us make plays. Christian did a great job pitching at the end of the game and will start in tomorrow''s game. We''re looking forward to it."