Starkville 10-year-olds set to host Dizzy Dean Overall State

Starkville 10-year-old All-Stars
Staff Writer

Last weekend was something special for the Starkville 10-year-old All-Stars when they won their Dizzy Dean South State Championship in West Point. 
Over the course of four days, Starkville knocked off Columbus American, Saltillo, Louisville and Fulton all in succession. As fun of a ride it was for coach Steve McKee and his squad, it has got bigger business to attend to this weekend. 
The Overall State Championship awaits Starkville in its own city at McKee Park as the top teams from the North, South, East and West converge for three games.
McKee is proud to stay home on Saturday but also was glad that the tournament was moved to the weekend instead of earlier in the week. 
“The biggest thing was getting it moved to the following Saturday to reset my pitch counts,” McKee said. “It’s going to be huge playing in Starkville, though, and you feel like you have some of the momentum because of home field advantage. We enjoyed playing in West Point, but it’s always good to play on your home fields.”
Pitch counts have become the major factor in Dizzy Dean this year as players are forced to sit for one day if they throw over 20 pitches in a game. McKee said that he will rotate pitchers early and often just as he did in the first tournament to make sure he has them available for a potential championship game. 
The quality and quantity is there for McKee’s team as it has upwards to seven players that can pitch effectively. That starts with son Tanner and includes Luke McKenzie, Major Smith and others. 
“I think we have just as good of pitching as anyone else,” McKee said. “We’ll be able to compete just fine. If we come out and throw strikes, it’ll be great. Mixing things up will be big with our right handers and left handers.”
McKee also credited his defense for the year they’ve been having. Short stop Cameron Sherman and outfielders Jonas Coleman and Tanner McKee each made fantastic defensive plays in the championship against Fulton to save the day. 
It’s all part of the maturation of the youngsters who are growing into solid baseball players with each passing week.
McKee is hoping that translates into another banner on Saturday, but is proud of the accomplishments to this point no matter what. 
“We’ve been working with our kids for four years, but we didn’t think they’d do this well,” McKee said. “It was a great weekend and we worked hard. We’re really proud of these kids and all the hard work they’ve put in.” 
Starkville begins the tournament at 10 a.m. on Saturday against Marshall County. The winner will play the winner of Greenville and Grenada at 2 p.m. in the championship.