BROOKHAVEN — Despite giving it their best effort, the Pike County 7-and-under and 9-and-under teams came up short Sunday at the Dixie Youth World Series Invitational at the Lincoln County Civic Center in Brookhaven.
The 7-and-under team was eliminated in the opening round following a one-run loss to Searcy, Arkansas. The 9-and-under team won its first two contests before falling to Paris, Texas in the championship game to finish runner-up.
The 9-and-under team kicked off exhibition play Friday, putting its offense on display with 16-0 and 9-1 wins over Lincoln County and Ponchatoula, La., respectively. The 9s wrapped up exhibition play Saturday with a pair of losses to Paris and Oakdale, La.
“It was a tough day for us,” head coach Richard Dodd said of Saturday.
Even though they entered the tournament Sunday coming off of a pair of losses, the 9s quickly put that behind them and got off to a strong start after the first inning. A big two-run single to left by Andrew Lott brought Dude Lewis and Dawson Bigner home. Lott took advantage of a Philadelphia mistake and also scored on the play. Drew Dodd later singled to right, allowing Joe Rials to score, increasing the Pike lead to 4-0.
Philadelphia came back to take a 7-4 lead at the end of the second. But a three-run inside-the-park home run from Lewis brought Mason Wilson and Cooper Speed home, tying the game at seven.
A fielder’s choice by Dodd in the top of the fourth allowed Lewis to touch home. On the same play, Bigner capitalized on an error to also score, putting Pike up 12-9. Philadelphia inched closer but Pike shut the door on its opponent, claiming a 12-11 win.
That momentum carried over into their next contest as the 9s got revenge on Oakdale following Saturday’s loss. Pike took advantage of several Oakdale miscues and three hits and two RBIs from Dude Lewis in a 16-1 win.
Following the game, Pike rested as it awaited the conclusion of the Paris, Texas vs. Hudson, Texas winner.
In the championship game against Paris, Pike found itself down 1-0 after two innings, but it took the lead in the third. With Jayden Coney and Connor Speed on base, Lewis blasted a triple to right field brining his two teammates home putting Pike ahead 2-1.
Paris regained the lead following a run in the third and four additional in the fourth to take a 6-2 advantage.
Pike continued to fight but could not slow down the red-hot Paris offense, which scored six more runs in the fifth to walk away with the 12-2 win.
After the game, Dodd said even though his team came up short in the championship, he is very proud of the effort that they displayed throughout the day.
“The kids were resilient, they were confident and they believed in themselves,” he said. “This morning we beat the Mississippi State Champs (Philadelphia), we beat the Louisiana State Champs (Oakdale). These kids were believing in themselves. We just kind of ran out of gas today and they made a lot of people proud.”
7-AND-UNDER loses OPENER
The Pike County 7-and-under team came into exhibition play Friday ready to compete, picking up a 14-11 win over Gonzales, La. But the momentum ran out later in the day as the 7s found themselves on the short end of a 16-4 decision to Splendora, Texas.
On Saturday, Pike went toe-to-toe with Lincoln County in a back-and-forth contest. However, when the dust settled, Pike came up short, falling 14-13. But just like the day before, Pike wrapped up a day of exhibition play with a 1-1 record thanks to a 2-1 win over Texarkana East, Ark.
Going into tournament play on Sunday, Pike wanted to get off on the right foot and despite a valiant effort from the whole team and getting three hits from Parker Williams and two RBIs from Jayden Chamberlain, the 7s were eliminated following a 7-6 loss to Searcy, Arkansas.
Head Coach Stephen Williams was really proud of the way his team played not only all summer but in their final game on Sunday.
“They competed all summer, practiced hard and practiced a lot,” he said. “All of the coaches did a great job of getting them ready. We had a chance in the bottom of the sixth to beat Searcy who won the World Series last year.
“We competed with a very good Searcy, Arkansas team, gave ourselves a chance but came up short. They played their little hearts out.”