The members of the Starkville 8-year-old All-Stars are Tyler Jefferson Jackson, front from left, Chipper Chase Hornburger, Hunter Randall Futral, Jonathan Paul Yates, William Raiford Carter, Camden Brody Bennett; and William Wallace McReynolds, back from left, Justin Koby Livingston, Xavier Deonte Sherman, John Charlton Cox, Jackson Hayes Davis and Harris Dixon McReynolds. (Submitted photo)
The Starkville 8-year-old baseball All-Stars had a long and successful summer.
Starkville ended the season with a 19-9 record.
"We got the most out of our guys and I think they became much better baseball players," Starkville head coach Tom McReynolds said. "We played a lot of games. That is 28 ballgames in about a five to six week period. We got better as a team and we found out a lot of kids could play multiple positions.
"We did really good. I was proud of them."
The 8-year-olds ended their season this past weekend with a top-16 finish in the Dizzy Dean World Series in Southaven held at Snowden Grove Park.
"We were a top 16 out of 50 in this tournament, and there's no doubt about it that we deserved to be," McReynolds said. "Where you put us between eight and 16, I can't say. We were the only Mississippi team left in the final 16 teams."
Starkville opened up the World Series in pool play. It went 1-2 with a win over Bradley (Tenn.) North Heat. They lost to the OP (Ga.) Sharks and the Hobgood Heat.
In the first round of the Championship Bracket, Starkville fell to the Northport Americans 13-12. It bounced back with wins over the Acworth Warriors Blue 13-9 and the Alpharetta Raiders 14-1.
Starkville was eventually eliminated by the Northport Americans 13-5. The score was 6-5 in favor of Northport entering the top of the sixth when it put up seven runs to take control.
"We played really well defensively," McReynolds said. "Our offense wasn't quite as strong as the Northport team. Defensively, we were about as good as anybody there."
Three of Starkville's four losses in the World Series came to the Northport Americans and the OP Sharks. Both teams played in the final four.
"We played the Northport American team better than anybody did," McReynolds said.
Starkville played in three warm-up tournaments winning two of them. It placed fourth in the state behind Grenada Elite, Clinton and Louisville.
"The parents were very supportive and that is the reason we were able to be a good team," McReynolds said. "When you have good supportive parents and they all got on board, it allowed us to be a good team."
McReynolds was assisted by Stewart Davis, T.J. Kent and Tom Jackson.
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"I couldn't have done it without their assistance," McReynolds said. "It is hard to balance a job, working and coaching these kids. It about becomes a full-time job."