Report: Starkville 10-year-olds win twice on Sunday

Staff Writer

HOUSTON – Starkville’s 10-under All-Stars have had their backs to the wall for the last three days but it hasn’t stopped them from winning.
The Dizzy Dean All-Stars are now just two wins away from bringing home the South State championship after another perfect day at Houston with wins versus Louisville and Columbus on Sunday.
Facing off against Louisville in the first game of the day the two neighboring ball clubs had a defensive battle in ball game that was neck and neck.
Starkville had two runs in the third and two more in the fourth to take advantage of Louisville midway through. Pitcher Brennan Wright pitched three strong innings and Ethan Pulliam and Drew Williams finished things off as Starkville knocked off a tough Louisville team 4-3.
In game three, Starkville was in for a roller coaster ride. Columbus had just lost to the tourney’s top team in Caledonia and it and Starkville were in for a battle to see who would make it to Monday’s finals.
Pulliam started the ball game and had a rough go as he gave up six runs in the first. Starkville had been hit in the mouth pretty hard and needed to find a way to respond.
“We had some miscues in the first and they put six (runs) on us,” Starkville head coach Russ McReynolds said. “We had a team meeting and I told the kids it’s a long ball game and we better wake up. We responded.”
Starkville responded alright with 11 runs in the bottom of the first to take an 11-6 lead. The spark was led by a grand slam from Pulliam who answered his rough inning on the mound in a big way.
Cy Hallberg took the mound for Starkville in the second and pitched three solid innings of relief to settle things down before Columbus tied it up in the fifth inning. Williams came in and shut the door and closed it down and the Starkville stars scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning to take the 13-12 victory.
“We’ve played eight ball games in four days and they’ve responded,” McReynolds said. “We’ve talked about being mentally tough and they’ve responded. Weather has been hot, but they’ve done well.”
It doesn’t get easier for Starkville as they now have to win two games on Monday night to take home the trophy. Caledonia has gone 3-0 in the tournament so far setting them up for a big Monday if things go as planned.
“We’ve come this far (so) we just want to finish the job,” McReynolds said. “Their pitching situation is probably pretty solid. They’ve only played three ball games and we’ve played eight. We’ve pieced things together and are sitting pretty good to play two ball games ourselves.
“We played them a couple of weeks ago and beat them so we’re familiar with them. They had a tight game with Columbus earlier Sunday and were down but came back and scored six runs to beat Columbus. It’s going to be a battle.”