Danny Carlisle, coaching his final game with the Starkville Yellowjackets, gets his team in a huddle during Saturday's game against New Hope. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
It was an end of an era Saturday afternoon as the baseball coaching career of Danny Carlisle with the Starkville Yellowjackets came to a close.
After 35 years and the last 29 seasons as the head coach of the Jackets, Carlisle coached his final game with the Jackets, a 6-1 loss to the New Hope Trojans.
Starkville lost both games of the series, including Friday night's 4-0 decision on a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning by New Hope's Tee Payne.
The Jackets stayed in striking distance of the talented Trojans on Saturday as well before too many errors and walks caught up to them.
Even though he would have liked better play out of his team, Carlisle has learned over the years that sometimes that's the way the baseball bounces.
"Walks and errors came back to haunt us," Carlisle said. "We've lived the charmed life in several games, but not (Friday and Saturday) and it's very unfortunate. We've been getting good pitching and good offense. We got good pitching (Friday) night, but our offense went south on us. (Saturday) we get 10 hits but score one run."
Starkville took the lead in the first inning when an RBI double by Nick Brooks sent Jordan Allgood across the plate.
New Hope took the lead in the second inning with three runs with only one hit and benefitted from three errors. Dusty Dyson had a solo home run to start the frame.
It was another Jacket error in the fourth that led to another run for the Trojans and extended the margin to 4-1.
"We took advantage of some mistakes and had some hits with runners on base," New Hope coach Lee Boyd said. "We ran the bases well so that's what I'm proud of. We stole some bases in key situations and found a hit after a stolen base."
Boyd said the Trojans did a good job of pressuring SHS starting pitcher Nathan Pugh, who worked 5 1/3 innings and ended up giving up all six runs on four hits with six strikeouts and seven walks.
"Pugh did a good job of keeping us off balance as we only had four hits, but we did a good job of taking advantage of what they gave us," Boyd said.
New Hope added two runs in the sixth when Thomas Woodruff drove in Jace Caldwell with a single and Dyson drove in Woodruff with a sacrifice fly.
Pugh had three of the Jackets' 10 hits, all singles, while Allgood, Max Bartlett and Daniel Murphree added two singles each and Brooks had his double.
Boyd knew that competing against Starkville was going to be easy because of the situation with Carlisle.
"We knew it was going to be a tough series because it was his last year," Boyd said. "I respect him. He's been in this business for 35 years and I hope to be around half as long coaching baseball. He's been through ups and downs. I wish him the best of luck for whatever he decides to do."
The Trojans improved their record to 24-7 and advance to next week's North Class 5A series.
The run for the Jackets finished with Class 5A, Region 2 championship and a 21-9 overall mark.
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