Starkville's 10-year-old All-stars split a pair of games on Sunday afternoon at McKee Park to end its 2012 run through the baseball postseason.
The day began with Zach Kelly on the mound for Starkville as it faced familiar foe, West Point. The two teams met in the second round of the weekend’s Dizzy Dean event on Friday with Starkville winning 13-3 but unlike the first contest offense took center stage.
Starkville trailed the through the first four frames before erupting for 11 unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take the victory 25-16.
“We were a dominant team for the first two days of the tournament,” said head coach Randy Carlisle. “We played hard and were one of the better teams of the 15-team field.”
The win allowed Starkville to advance to face Clinton, who defeated Houston earlier in the afternoon.
Game one featured scoring streaks and miscues in the field however, the matchup with Clinton took on a new look entirely. Clinton ultimately won 10-8 to knock Starkville out of the tournament.
Starkville found itself locked in a pitcher’s duel with both teams playing good defense and pitching the ball effectively.
The home team fell behind 3-0 through the first two and a half innings before drawing even in the third, tying the game 3-3.
“I’m very proud of my guys,” Carlisle said. “We battled all weekend long. They just continued to find ways to stay in games.”
Clinton answered with a pair of runs in the fourth and a single run in the fifth, but Starkville wouldn’t go was as it plated three runs in the home half of the fifth to take the 7-6 lead entering the final frame.
With the game on the line, Clinton came through with four runs off Garrett Lewis, who recorded a pair of strikeouts in the inning.
Despite trailing by three runs Starkville wouldn’t go away quietly. The hometown team plated a run and had runners on second and third with the winning run at the plate with one out.
It was at that point it could dodge the inclement weather no more and the rain began to fall heavily. After recording an out in the pouring rain, the game was stopped for a 45-minute delay.
Once play resumed, Ben Brown stepped to the plate to battle the Clinton hurler. After a valiant at-bat, Brown narrowly missed strike three to end the run for the Starkville All-Stars.
“We wanted to come out here and do a couple of things - win a championship and compete in a classy way,” said Carlisle. “We came up a little short on the championship, but we were great sportsmen all weekend long.
“We would have liked to have won, but the bigger thing is I hope we learned how to compete with class and that’s something that they can carry with them away from baseball.”
The loss wraps up the tournament series for the All-Star team with a 3-2 record.