Starkville 12-year-olds cap unblemished run to Overall State title

Starkville 12-year-old All-Stars
By: 
ROBBIE FAULK
Staff Writer

It was only fitting that on Saturday in the Dizzy Dean Overall State championship, Starkville’s dominating run to the title ended in a run rule. 
Eli Dale capped off the unblemished run through South State and the State championship with a three-run home run blast over the left center field fence for a 19-7 victory. 
“They did an outstanding job,” Starkville coach Russ McReynolds said of his team’s run. “It’s a good group of kids who had a great overall effort. We pitched it well and hit up and down the lineup. I’m very proud of these players.”
The home run culminated a 12-run bottom of the fourth inning where visiting Greenwood had fallen apart on the mound. Starkville walked eight times before breaking the game open with a three-run double by Drew Williams, an RBI single from Ethan Pulliam and then the bases-clearing round tripper from Dale for the win. 
Prior to the big inning, Starkville had its hands full with the Delta-based squad from Greenwood. The Starkville All-Stars fell behind 3-0 in the first inning with just one out before Pulliam came in and got a double play to end the frame. They answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning started by an RBI double from Pulliam, who came home on a baseball thrown away at third to close the gap to 3-2. 
In the second, Starkville took the game over when it had bases loaded with no outs. A two-run double from Brennon Wright and two-out RBI single from Dale highlighted a four-run inning that gave Starkville a 7-3 advantage. 
After Pulliam got into some trouble in the third and fourth innings to tie the game, the fatigue set in on the visitors. 
Starkville used a patient approach at the plate in the fourth with those eight walks and finally broke it open with big hits to win the game and finish perfect in its two tournaments as a team. 
Pulliam pitched 3.2 innings of relief in the game giving up seven hits, four runs and striking out four batters. At the plate, he was 2-for-3 with three runs driven in. 
Starkville had 12 hits as a team led by the three-hit performance from Dale, who drove in five runs. Wright had two hits with three RBI and Williams had a hit with four RBI.   
Playing its final Dizzy Dean game of their careers, McReynolds enjoyed seeing the team he’s coached for several summers go out winners. 
“We’re representing Starkville and Dizzy Dean baseball and we want them to go out and compete,” McReynolds said. “A lot of kids choose to play travel ball, but we’ve had a lot of kids do both and compete in Dizzy Dean. It’s been good.”

First Game
Starkville 7, Horn Lake 6,
five innings

The All-Stars started the day with a one-run win over Horn Lake in five innings due to the time limit.
It was a big test for Starkville looking to stay unbeaten and it made the plays in the end to do it. 
Pulliam came into the game with no outs and the score at 7-4 and produced a strikeout, a run-scoring groundout and another strikeout to end it and preserve the win.  
Wright started the game on the mound and went four innings for Starkville scattering eight hits, six runs and a walk while striking out two batters. He gave up just six hits in the first four innings before Horn Lake got Starkville in trouble late. 
The game was tied at 2-2 after two innings before Starkville’s bats woke up. Pulliam had an RBI double and scored later on a wild pitch to give his squad a lead it wouldn’t lose at 4-2. 
In the fifth inning, Xavier Prater knocked in a run on a hit off the fence and an error added another for the 7-3 lead. 
Prater was 3-for-3 in the game as the catcher drove in a couple of runs. Pulliam added two hits of his own and four stolen bases while Wyatt Johnson had two hits and two stolen bases.

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