SOUTHAVEN – The Starkville Longhorns 8-year-old Coach-Pitch All-Stars faced their first real adversity in Dizzy Dean postseason play Wellswood (Fla.) Tuesday afternoon, but survived and won a 6-4 decision on a walk-off home run by Jackson Owen.
"The kids were a little down because no team had been able to hold us down like that," Starkville coach Keith Lawrence said. "Tampa (Wellswood) made some good plays and a lot of them came in foul ground, but as good teams do, we found a way to win."
With the Longhorns down 4-3, Nyjal Johnson and Keyshawn Lawrence were able to reach second and third base, then Owen blasted the three-run shot to end the game.
"I told him to just throw his hands at the ball," Coach Lawrence said. "I told him he didn't have to hit a home run because if he had gotten a base hit to go through, I was going to send the runner home, but he ended up hitting the ball into the parking lot."
Owen drove in four runs with a three-hit effort for Starkville, while Johnson added a pair of hits and Ahmir Taylor and Keyshawn Lawrence had one hit each.
The Longhorns were able to get the hard-earned victory after defeating Rome, Ga., 10-1 earlier in the day.
The leading hitters for Starkville were Owen and Thomas Tucker with three hits each. Tucker drove in three runs with his hits. Keyshawn Lawrence had a double, a triple and two runs batted in, while Tae Lucious, Riley Dawkins and Cedric Hines also had two hits each.
The Longhorns are unbeaten in five games at the World Series. After beating Hobgood, Ga., Starkville knocked off Hernando 19-1, Bradley, Tenn., 17-0, Rome, Ga. and Wellswood, Fla.
Starkville plays two more games today, starting with a 9:30 p.m. matchup against the Ooltewah (Tenn.) Owls, the Tennessee state champions.