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No. 13 lucky for Starkville


Danny P Smith



Friday the 13th came a day early for the Columbus Falcons. 


For the Starkville Yellow Jackets, the number 13 was lucky Thursday night. 


Starkville used 13 runs on 13 hits and capitalized on six errors in a 13-0 win in five innings at Sammy Fletcher Field. 


Columbus (4-4, 0-2 Class 5A, Division 2) saw the game get away in the fourth inning when it made three errors and Starkville (6-1, 2-0) scored six runs on six hits to take a 10-0 lead. 


"It''s kind of what we''ve done lately," Columbus coach Jeffery Cook said. "If we make one mistake, instead of coming back, stepping up and making a play and overcome it, we tend to make another one." 


It was Starkville''s second win against Columbus in three days. The Yellow Jackets won 7-4 Tuesday. 


After the Yellow Jackets didn''t take advantage of their opportunities in the previous meeting, Starkville coach Danny Carlisle was proud to see his team cash in on just about every chance this time. 


The subject was a major topic of conversation for the Yellow Jackets the past three days. 


"We talked about it Tuesday night, we talked about it Wednesday, and (Thursday) we talked about it," Carlisle said. "We played really good. We swung the bat well and Columbus helped us with a couple of drops here or there, but you''ve got to hit it before they can drop it. 


"You''ve got to keep putting it in play, keep rolling it around, and keep running the bases. We took extra bases. When they had a bobble, we took the extra base. I''m proud of our guys, and that went a long way as far as making us a whole lot better team." 


Starkville took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by R.J. Johnson. It scored three runs on four hits in the third to extend the margin to 4-0. 


The Yellow Jackets took control in a six-run fourth, as Johnson drove in another run with a single, Daniel Forde and Cameron Cobb added RBI single, and Jayson Keel singled in two runs. 


Keel knew Starkville had to produce at the plate in a division game. 


"Coach said it was a very important game and if we win this, we''re a step closer to making the playoffs," Keel said. "It was a different game (Thursday) because we came out and swung the bats well. We saw the ball, hit the ball and came out with a win." 


Keel, who had three singles, drove in a run with one of his singles in the fifth as Starkville tacked on the final three runs. 


Johnson, Cobb and Bryan Koenig added two singles each, while Forde, Blake Dawkins, and P.J. Dawkins had one single each. Chuck Tillery (triple) had the only extra-base hit. 


Starkville senior pitcher Colin Olsen (3-0) hurled a one-hitter and struck out seven. 


The only hit Olsen allowed was a one-out triple to Dylan Anderson in the third. After Olsen walked Billy Autrey intentionally, he struck out Nick Durrah to end the Falcons'' only threat. 


Both teams will travel to Florida, as Starkville will play in a spring break tournament in Pensacola, while Columbus will do the same in Orlando. 


"Maybe we can get down there and regroup a little bit," Cook said. "I was very disappointed in the effort and there''s not much you can say. We look forward to a safe trip and look to get down there and get better." 




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