Columbia 8u wins 2nd World SeriesBy JOSHUA CAMPBELL,
The Columbia 8u all-stars made history Tuesday morning, becoming the first team from Mississippi to win the Dixie Youth 8u coach pitch World Series by beating South Carolina 3-1 in the championship in Ruston, La.
Head coach Ryan Stringer said it was an awesome experience for the team.
“The atmosphere was awesome, the facilities were as nice as you’ll ever see and it was a really cool experience for the kids,” he said.
Jaydon Johnson led off the championship game with a triple and scored on a Jagger Earls single to get Columbia on the board in the first inning. In the top of the fourth, Bentley Blansett drove in a run with a triple to the fence and scored on a Carter Miller single. South Carolina scored a run on a close play at first base in the fifth, but Columbia’s defense shined throughout to limit South Carolina’s offense.
South Carolina had the tying run on first in the sixth, but Blansett fielded a ground ball at short and threw to Cruz Stogner at third base to make the final out.
“Defense carried us the whole tournament. They were fantastic and definitely the best defense in the whole tournament. That’s why we ended up winning,” Stringer said. “We never could get the bats going the whole tournament, which other people played really good defense also, and a lot of times our base hits turned into outs because they were playing good defense. But our defense was definitely top notch in the whole tournament.”
Columbia 8u began pool play Saturday afternoon with a dominant 10-0 win over Arkansas, with Tyler Manning ripping a solo home run. Four errors cost the all-stars in their second game of the day as they lost 7-6 to Ruston (La.) despite Blansett’s 4 RBI. Columbia rebounded to win its pool Sunday morning by pounding out 17 hits in an 8-3 win over Arkansas.
Then Columbia went on a tear in bracket play, beating South Carolina 5-1 and Louisiana 7-2 Sunday and Tennessee 7-2 and Louisiana 8-5 Monday to reach the championship Tuesday morning. Connor Bozeman had a homer against Louisiana Sunday.
The group that makes up the Columbia 8u squad won the World Series as 6-year-olds but lost in the semifinals last season as 7-year-olds.
“We were hungry to get back, and we got to beat the team (Louisiana) that beat us last year so we got a little revenge,” Stringer said.
Stringer added that he and the rest of the coaching staff are thankful for all of the support back home in Columbia that followed and cheered the all-stars on.
Pictured Above: Columbia 8u includes, front row, from left, Kamron Stringer, Jagger Earls, Connor Bozeman, Jaydon Johnson, Carter Miller and Parker Russell; second row, Cruz Stogner, Noah Jones, Bentley Blansett, Tyler Manning, Max McDaniel and Brayden Gipson; back row, coaches Randall Stringer, Andrew Gipson, Ryan Stringer (head) and Kevin Bozeman.