The Pike County 10-and-under and 12-and-under Dixie Youth baseball teams had high hopes going into state tournament play this past weekend but it wasn’t the ending that they had hoped for as both squads came up short in their quest to punch tickets to the Dixie Youth World Series in Ruston, La.
The 10s got off to a positive start Friday in Mendenhall with an 11-1 victory over Humphries County. Ryder Martin shined in the contest going 2-for-3 with a run scored and five RBIs. On the mound, the combination of Davis Carruth, Brennan Knight and Martin allowed only one run while striking out nine.
Pike could not keep the momentum going falling to Laurel National 13-1 Saturday morning before losing to Walthall 10-0, eliminating the 10s from the tournament.
“In our last game, we had more energy and felt better about it, but having to turn around and play a double header. For 10-year-olds in the heat, it sucked the energy out of us,” said Pike 10-and-under head coach Garith Lunsford.
Despite coming up short over the weekend, Lunsford is very proud of his kids for the amount of work that they put in this year.
“I’m very proud of them,” he said. “Working as hard as they did and putting up with me, there are no complaints there. Every kid and parent too, I asked them to be there. It was crazy, we had morning practices, evening practices. We go to these tournaments, we compete and we play ball.”
Now the focus shifts to work being put in during the offseason.
“That is a big thing for this team and these boys here,” he said. “They have got to work on the offseason. We are going to try to do some fall league ball, keep them together and keep them going and make them stronger for next season.”
Pike 12s lose momentum after positive start
Just like the 10s, the Pike County 12-and-under all-stars got off on the right foot to open their respective state tournament in Kosciusko with a win Friday evening. But a pair of losses on Saturday shut the door on their chances to advance to the Dixie Youth World Series in Ruston.
The 12s defeated Laurel National 4-3 to open tournament play on Friday. Hayden Lewis led the way going 2-for-2 with a run scored. Liam Magee, Leyton Henagan, Darin Pounds and Champ Parker also collected hits for Pike in the win. Magee got the win on the mound going 5.0 innings. He gave up only two hits three earned runs and four walks while striking out three. Lewis came on in relief and struck out two preserving the win.
But the magic ran out for Pike on Saturday as the 12s fell to Kosciusko 12-3 before coming up short against Cleveland, Miss 6-2.
“I think that they were mentally exhausted after Friday’s win,” Pike 12-and-under coach Turner Dyess said. “It seemed to take a lot out of them. They weren’t quite as engaged on Saturday. They didn’t have the same approach to the game.”
Looking back on the year, Dyess said that he is proud of how his kids performed this season.
“They came a long way,” he said. “These kids have not played a ton of baseball.”