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Starkville claims easy win after two close games


Danny P Smith



EUPORA -- The Starkville Freshman 11-year-old All-Stars were happy to claim an easy win after two high-scoring one-run decisions to open the Dizzy Dean South State Tournament. 


After losing 19-18 to Grenada on Friday night and beating Louisville 12-11 in the first game Saturday, Starkville had an easier time by knocking off Greenwood 13-3 in four innings. 


Starkville coach Will McWhorter was happy to see pitchers Cameron Johnston and Matthew Oxford respond with good outings. 


Johnston pitched the first three innings and only gave up one run in the third, while Oxford finished the game. 


"(Johnston) came in and did exactly what we wanted him to do with three innings," McWhorter said. "I brought (Oxford) in to finish the game. He was my second baseman and he came in and threw strikes. He''s a great kid and has good baseball sense." 


McWhorter said the outfield play of Taylor Griffin with a key catch and a throw-out of a runner at third base in the final inning was a key in the game. 


Johnston said the key was to stay around the plate with his pitches because Greenwood showed patience at the plate. 


"They would tend to go after the outside pitch and couldn''t hit it," Johnston said. 


The offense gave Johnston a good lead early with three runs in the first and seven more in the second. 


In the final inning, Raphael Leonard had a two-run single, then scored the run that brought the 10-run rule into play when he stole second base, third base and came home on a throwing error. 


McWhorter was glad to see a 10-run game to give his team confidence and rest some of his other pitchers. 


Starkville, which meets the winner of Louisville and Pontotoc at 1 today, had hitting up and down the order. Jared Williams had a pair of hits to lead the way. 


7-year old South State 


n Starkville 15, Houston 7: At Grenada, the Starkville 7-year-old Coach-Pitch All-Stars remained in the winner''s bracket at the Dizzy Dean South State Tournament on Saturday by defeating Houston in the quarterfinals.  


Starkville began the scoring in the first inning when Jaden James led off with his first of three inside-the-park home runs. 


After Houston tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, Starkville added two more in second and then held Houston scoreless in the bottom of the inning highlighted by Jase Grantham''s play of throwing out a runner at second base.  


Starkville broke it open with seven runs in the top of the third. James lead off with a single followed by a single by Kamden Upchurch. Jack Perry then cleared the bases with a two-run triple. John Thomas Cox picked up Perry with an RBI single to left field. Following singles by Keyshawn Lawrence, Kevin Diaz, and Cedric Hines, Jermaine Williams reached on an error. Braden Carlisle closed out the scoring in the top of the fourth with a two RBI double.  


Starkville added one in the fourth and three in the fifth to take a 14-6 lead. Josh Edmonds had a single and later scored in the fifth before Houston added one in the bottom of the inning. 


Leading by seven going into the top of the sixth, Starkville only needed to score one to seal the win by the seven-run-per-inning rule. Cox lead off with a single and scored the game winning run on a deep single by Lawrence.  


"This was a tremendous win for our kids," said Starkville coach Shane Grantham.  "We played Houston last weekend but they were a totally different and much improved team today. We are proud the boys battled hard and pulled out the win." 


Starkville plays Columbus in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. today. 


n Starkville 16, Water Valley 1: The Starkville 7-year-old Coach-Pitch All-Stars got off to a good start in the tournament Friday with a dominating victory. 


Starkville scored seven runs in the first inning and never looked back. 


Leading the Starkville effort at the plate were Jack Perry, Diaz and Grantham with three hits each. 


Minor 10 All-Stars 


n Starkville 11, Mathiston 1: The Starkville Minor 10-year-old All-Stars stayed alive after losing the first game of the South State Tournament to Columbus National on Friday with its third-straight win Saturday. 


Starkville used a 15-hit attack with Bradley Savage leading the way with an inside the park home run and single, while Tavian Clark and Javian Sherman had one double and one single each, Reid Stevens and Sage Pritchard had two singles each and Tyler Stoval added a double. 


Stevens was the winning pitcher with three innings of work, while Clark had one inning. 


Earlier in the day, Starkville beat Louisville 13-3 behind the three innings of pitching by Connor Reinike and one inning of Stephon Dotson. 


Reinike helped his own cause with a triple and a single, while Tim Hogan had a pair of singles and Luke Davis chipped in a triple. 


Starkville plays Grenada at 4 p.m. today. 


Freshman 12 


n Starkville 11, Grenada 1: At Winona, Starkville''s Freshman 12-year-old All-Stars got the Dizzy Dean State Tournament started off on the right note on Friday. 


Starkville scored six runs in the first inning and didn''t look back. 


Joel Ray and Ben Moorehead had a double and single each for Starkville, while Jacob Batchelor had a pair of bunt singles. 


Arnold, Moorehead and Michael Godley did the pitching for Starkville. 




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