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SMITH COLUMN: Mitchell does good job with State Tourney

July 8, 2012

It's not easy to run a tournament.

When someone volunteers to be in charge of putting an athletic event together such as the Dizzy Dean 10-year-old State Tournament, they are subject to all of the potential headaches that go with it.

Ron Mitchell has accepted the challenge in Starkville this week and the weather hasn't exactly cooperated.

Even before the tournament began on Thursday, a thunderstorm moved through the area during the morning hours and delayed the action for a couple of hours. Mitchell found a way to get all of the games in and concluded the first day in a timely manner.

During the night Thursday, the weather turned nasty again and rain saturated the McKee Park fields. Friday's action was delayed for about 30 minutes, but the event got back on schedule until, you guessed it, another dark cloud came in from the north.

This time there was no saving the rest of Friday's action because so much rain fell in a short amount of time, it suspended one game and postponed two others.

That sent Mitchell scrambling to rearrange Saturday's schedule.

He decided to start play at noon Saturday to get one suspended game and 10 full games in. That could have been a nightmare scenario, especially with more rain in the forecast, but bad weather stayed away and the task was accomplished. They didn't have to stay up all night to do it.

Despite rain causing some reshuffling of the tournament and a bit of controversy at the end of Saturday night's Starkville-Louisville game, everything else appears to be running smooth at the tournament and that's a credit to Mitchell and his staff. The umpires and scorekeepers did a good job of keeping everything moving along. Probably the most toughest job of all was coach Tate Fischer taking up money in the heat and humidity at the entrance.

The action definitely had to be worth the price of admission because there has been some interesting games played during the course of the last three days.

There have been some matchups that have been one-sided with a few 10-run rule decisions, but there have also been some pretty competitive outings.
In the second game of the day on Thursday, West Point defeated Calhoun City 7-6. Calhoun City has since won a pair of slugfests against Winona 16-12 and Eupora 15-12.

Later in the day on Thursday, Clinton had to hold on to beat Ackerman 8-6. Ackerman has proven how tough it can be by knocking off Columbus American 14-3 and Winona 13-2 in a pair of 10-run rule games.

Starkville made it to the fourth day of the tournament after two impressive wins against Winona 11-1 and West Point 13-3.

Even though Starkville lost a tough 15-14 decision to Louisville, the home team still has what it takes to play back through the loser's bracket and win the championship.

Not sure what surrounded all of the controversy at the end of the Louisville game as it was hard to get an explanation at press time, but regardless, Starkville must put the adversity behind it and come out with a renewed purpose today.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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