The level of competition was high in Pike County this past weekend as the Windsor Gay Sportsplex in Summit hosted the Dixie Youth 7U, 9U and 11U baseball tournaments.
With a chance to qualify for the state tournament in two weeks teams from across the area poured their hearts into it, but when the dust settled it was the Pike County teams who stood tall.
In the 7U tournament, Pike County went into Saturday evening’s finals against Natchez with a boost of confidence. After already defeating Natchez Friday evening in their tournament opener, Pike went into the contest with a one game lead. Natchez, who just wrapped up a win over Walthall County, carried that momentum over defeating Pike setting up one final game to decide the tournament champion.
Pike quickly got over its slump and got off to a strong start plating six runs in the opening inning en route to a 9-5 win to claim the 7U Championship.
“We played them Friday night and it was a really good game,” Pike County 7U head coach Stephen Williams said. “Natchez beat us (earlier) tonight. Natchez has a really good ball club. And we showed up and played really well, especially our defense. I am proud of the kids.”
One of those kids who helped lead the charge was Bryce McGinnis who went 3-for-3 with an RBI. McGinnis was one of five Pike players to record an RBI in the first inning.
“I’m just glad that we won state,” he said. “I just want to play Kosciusko.”
Pike 11U tops Lawrence County
The Pike County 11U matched up against Lawrence County in Monday’s final and put its offense on display walking away with a 25-3 victory.
“It was a complete team effort,” Pike County 11U head coach Kenny Speed said. “One through 11 in the batting order hit the ball really well. We played solid defense, got great pitching and allowed one hit throughout the game. I just couldn’t be prouder for this group of guys because they never won the district all-star tournament at any age group to advance to state. It is the first chance for these boys to experience this and I am proud of it.”
Pike got off to a strong start, plating four runs in the first inning fueled by Jax Smith who smacked a two-run double to center bringing Dominic Smith and Zane Minton home.
The momentum carried over into the ensuing inning where Pike put up five additional runs to increase its lead to 9-0. Mistakes on back-to-back at bats allowed Lawrence County to get on the board, making the score 9-2. Pike quickly got over its errors to get back into its offensive groove, rattling-off seven additional runs to take a 16-2 advantage.
Minton gave credit to his defense and pitching saying it helped provide a boost for the offense. “We had good pitching on the mound and everything,” he said. “We all put it together, we made hits and we made plays in the infield.”
From there, Pike kept pouring it on before the mercy rule allowed the game to end following the fourth inning.
Pike American wins 9U
It was an all Pike County final in the 9U bracket as the Pike National team defeated Lawrence County in the evening to set up the championship game against Pike American.
Pike American flexed its offensive muscle and got several key contributions offensively, led by Dude Lewis, Dawson Bigner and Joe Rials, but arguably the key to the contest was the pitching of Jayden Coney who went the distance, allowing only six hits and three runs in a 15-3 final.
“Coach told me to throw regular balls and I got off the mound and concentrated and then I started throwing strikes,” said Coney, who finished with three strikeouts.
For head coach Richard Dodd, he was very pleased with what he saw from his young group, especially against a very-competitive Pike National team.
“I do want to give a lot of credit to the other Pike County team,” he said.“Both teams worked very hard to get where we are today. We have great kids, great parents and great coaches. It is an honor and a blessing to be a part of it.”
Both Pike American and Pike National will compete in the 9U State Tournament in Laurel on the first weekend of July.