July 20, 2009
The road to Dizzy Dean World Series titles ended Sunday for two teams from the Golden Triangle.
The Columbus Nationals 10-year-old All-Star team lost to Bill Bond Baseball (Pensacola, Fla.), and the Starkville Dawgs 12-year-old All-Stars lost to Irondale, Ala., 7-4. Both elimination games were played at the Tupelo Sportsplex.
Columbus defeated Tupelo 14-1 Sunday morning in its first game in the losers'' bracket. LaQuinston Sharp hit two home runs, Tyler Anderson had a single and a double, Thomas Stevens had a single and two doubles, Kyle Cruthirds had two singles, and Logan Sneed had a double to help the Nationals earn their mercy-rule victory.
"The Tupelo game, that was fun," Columbus Nationals manager Rory Sneed said. "We scored four runs in the first inning and four runs in the second inning and got off to a good start and did a lot better job."
Thomas Cooper pitched the first four innings for Columbus. Anderson pitched the final two innings.
Unfortunately, Columbus couldn''t keep it going.
Bill Bond Baseball scored seven runs in the first inning and never looked back.
"We didn''t respond," Sneed said. "We got off to a slow start and we were not able to recover. It was comparable to the Oak Mountain (Ala.) game."
Columbus lost to Oak Mountain 12-2 on Saturday.
Despite going 2-2 and seeing his team''s run in the World Series end too early, Sneed was pleased with his team''s showing. The Columbus Nationals came out of the losers'' bracket to win the South Half state title and reach the World Series.
"I think all of the kids had a good experience and we want them to remember the good stuff we did this year and learn from the bad stuff," Sneed said. "We won a couple of games prettily handily and had a good experience. That is something they will remember for a long time."
Starkville defeated Tupelo 15-6 in its first game Sunday. Tied 6-6 in the fifth inning, John McReynolds had home runs in the fifth and in the sixth innings to help the Dawgs pull away.
Isaac Gerhart, Austin Burkis, Ben Moorehead, and Tequan Goliday had key hits in the final two innings for Starkville.
"Tupelo gave us all we wanted," Starkville manager Jim Moorehead said. "I tip my hat to Tupelo."
Starkville was tied with Irondale 2-2 in the fifth inning. The Dawgs appeared to have scored the go-ahead run on a steal of home, but the runner was called out.
Irondale capitalized to eliminate Starkville.
"I am so proud of them," Moorehead said. "We competed well and it was a total team effort in the second game. It was a valuable experience for everybody."
Moorehead wondered what could have been had Starkville not had two other potential runs erased at third base.
"I feel like we are good enough to play for another day," Moorhead said. "The boys did everything we asked them to do."
Moorehead said Harper Arnold pitched wonderful game in relief of McReynolds. He also praised the play of catchers Hunter Peeples and Jared Ousley.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.