OXFORD – The Starkville USSSA 9-year-old Longhorns' bid for a state championship came up just one game short on Sunday afternoon when it lost an 8-6 decision to DeSoto County in the tournament championship game.
Despite the loss in the finals, Starkville coach Keith Lawrence had reason to be very proud of his team's run to the title game.
"To play some of the best teams from all over the state of Mississippi and to reach the final two just speaks well of the kids and our coaching staff," Lawrence said.
The loss to DeSoto was the third game of the day for Starkville so Lawrence said it was just a matter of the Longhorns running out of gas.
"The tournament format was such where we went from playing one game per day to having to play three games on the last day," Lawrence said. "With the heat index around 100 degrees, it was just too much. The kids from both sides were just exhausted.
"I know my son Keyshawn caught the first two games and he was just exhausted. We put fluids in him and he went out to play shortstop in the last game."
Lawrence said Starkville made 10 errors in the championship game, which was uncharacteristic of a normally solid defensive squad.
Jackson Owen had two hits for the Longhorns and drove in two runs, while Roy Williams also had two hits with one a double and had an RBI. Keyshawn Lawrence added a hit.
Starkville 13, Brandon Dogs 4
The Longhorns started the day strong by scoring nine runs in the second inning.
With the game tied at 2-2 after the first inning, Starkville exploded in the second to take an 11-4 lead.
Nyjal Johnson, Tay Lucious and Owen each had two hits, including a double.
Johnson and Jackson Conn combined to pitch a four-hitter.
Starkville 8, Mississippi Braves 2
Owen pitched a complete-game, two-hitter to give the Longhorns a boost in the five-inning outing.
Cedric Hines had a two-run double to pace Starkville at the plate, while Johnson also had a double.