Starkville 7's don't disappoint in getting overall state crown

Starkville 7-year-old Dizzy Dean All-Stars

SDN staff

Following a dominating weekend in Houston for the Dizzy Dean 7-year-old South State Championship, the Starkville All-Stars took their show on the road for the state championship on Monday night and they didn’t disappoint.

The domination defensively and at the plate continued once more in two run-rule wins against Batesville and Greenwood. Starkville took game one of the day 11-3 in five innings and then finished off with the championship trophy after a 10-2 victory over Greenwood in five innings as well.

The Starkville All-Stars finished the South State and Overall State championship combining to outscore six opponents 95-19.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of these kids,” Starkville coach Allan Smith said. “They’ve worked hard on the defense and gave up 19 runs in six games. I’ve done this a few times with some different teams and age groups and haven’t seen that. They’ve been playing a lot of games together since last year and you can’t substitute live action.”

In the championship game, Starkville had to battle through four grueling innings where offense was at a premium. It was a 3-2 advantage for Starkville and it needed to take control of the game which is what it did in the fifth.

It started with four-consecutive hits from the lineup including an RBI single from Murphy Gordon and a two-RBI double by Knox Smith to take a 6-2 lead. Starkville scored four more runs in the frame to reach the seven-run limit in an inning and the defense did the rest of the work in the bottom of the frame holding Greenwood off the board in the final four innings after trailing 2-0 in the first.

Starkville was led in the game by Cline Kemp’s big night as he went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Gordon, Smith and Kylan Pulliam were 2-for-3 as well as Preston Crouch, who had two doubles and an RBI.
To get to the title game, Starkville had to face off against north runners up Batesville and they continued their momentum from the previous ball games this year.

The two teams were locked in a tight one with a 3-2 Starkville lead in the third before they got some separation. Three-straight hits from the top of the order started the inning as Gordon, Knox Smith and Reed Sparks all had base knocks and Sparks doubled home a run to push the lead out to 4-2. Back-to-back productive outs from Crouch and Kemp made it 6-2.

Starkville scored four more runs in the fourth and another in the fifth while limiting Batesville to just one run to clinch the win in just five innings.

Gordon led Starkville with a three-hit game one and added an RBI. Knox Smith, Pulliam, Thomas Collier, Zaidin Spencer, Landry Williamson, Sims Gregory and Sparks all had two hits each. Crouch led the team with three RBI and Will Thomas added two of his own.

Allan Smith said that the coaches and parents are still waiting on a decision to play in the Dizzy Dean World Series slated for July 20-26 in Southaven. Last year, the team competed and finished fourth in the entire age group. Smith said that they’ll gladly go again this year with the parent’s approval.

(Editor's Note: Starkville Daily News prep writer Robbie Faulk compiled the information for this report.)