Izak Hanson pitches for the Starkville 10-year-old All-Stars against West Point Friday at the Dizzy Dean State Tournament at McKee Park. (Photo by Joel Counce, For Starkville Daily News)
The weather is not the only thing that has warmed up in Starkville.
Starkville's 10-year-old Dizzy Dean All-Stars have started the State Tournament hot at the plate.
After two games played, Starkville has scored 24 runs in only eight innings. It defeated Winona 11-1 in the first round Thursday and followed that up with an impressive 13-3 victory against West Point Friday at McKee Park.
Put the unexpected offense along with solid pitching and defense, Starkville has proved to be a dangerous team moving forward in the tournament.
"I'm really liking how we've pitched and the defense we've played behind it," Starkville coach Randy Carlisle said. "If we keep playing and only give up two or three runs, I'm very happy with our chances.
"We're still living with our defense. We've made very few errors or mishaps with the routine plays and when you get a base hit, we cut that ball off and keep it a single. That's hard."
Starkville did allow West Point two runs in the first inning and one run in the second, but pitcher Izak Hanson worked a shutout in the final two frames.
After getting one run in the first inning to cut the West Point advantage to 2-1 and seeing the visitors from Clay County get the run back to go up 3-1, Starkville exploded for six runs on four hits in the second to take a 7-3 lead.
"In the first inning, we put the ball in play, but hit three weak ground balls and line drives right to them," Carlisle said. "We thought if we keep hitting the ball and make them make plays, we're going to be OK.
"Fortunately for two days, we've played eight innings, scored 24 runs and only had three strikeouts, which is a positive. We're making pitchers throw us some strikes, taking advantage of walks and putting the ball in play. When you put the ball in play, people have to make outs."
Starkville added two more runs on four hits in the fourth inning and four runs on four hits in the fourth to end the game with the 10-run rule.
"We've been fortunate to get back-to-back hits in a couple of spurts to be able to put these games away and not use a lot of pitching," Carlisle said.
Garrett Lewis had the biggest day offensively for Starkville with four singles, while Jaden James and Ben Brown had a pair of singles each. Hanson and Justin Rook had the only extra base hits with one double each.
Starkville advanced to a meeting with Louisville today at 7 p.m. Louisville won a 21-15 slugfest against Columbus American Thursday in its only other game in the tournament so far.
With a win against Louisville, Starkville reaches Sunday's round undefeated.
"It's a huge game in this tournament," Carlisle said. "The winner is sitting in a good spot and there are two very good teams. People came into this tournament thought these two teams would be two of the better teams, along with the Columbus team and a few more. This is a good spot to be in."
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