by Malcolm Butler
Team Louisiana is coming back home with a summer of memories they will always cherish.
After a spectacular run that included the state title and a berth in the Dixie Youth World Series in North Carolina, Team Louisiana – comprised of the Ruston American 10u players – fell 5-3 to Team Virginia Tuesday afternoon.
The loss in Lumberton, North Carolina, ended the magical run for the young men.
“I know I’m speaking for our parents and our staff that we are just so proud of the kids for all that they accomplished this summer,” said head coach Steve Davison. “They battled down to the final out today. It wasn’t a day that we played our best baseball, but it was a good example of their grit and never-say-die attitude. We gave ourselves a chance at the end to get to the semifinals. It was a great summer for these boys that they will always remember.”
Team Louisiana staved off elimination on Monday, rallying to defeat Team Texas 7-5 in the late innings. And on Tuesday, they tried to duplicate that feat.
After falling behind 5-0, Team Louisiana scored three runs to cut the deficit down to two runs.
We got off to slow start with bats,” said Davison. “We hit into inning ending double plays in the first two innings. It was just a game where it seemed like every close play went the other team’s way. Virginia was good, and they played really well. We hit a lot of ground balls right at people and they consistently made some plays.
“We got down 5-0 and battled back. We got a good relief appearance from Grant Alexander who really shut them down and gave us a chance to get back into it.”
Trailing 5-3 heading into its final plate appearance, Davison said he felt confident in his team’s ability to put together another rally. And Team Louisiana almost did it.
“We had the top of the order coming up in the top of the sixth,” he said. “Joseph (Davison) worked to full count and hit a hard ground ball that their shortstop back-handed and threw him out at first. Grey Ramsey got a hit for us. Then we got another runner on by hit by pitch.
“We had first and second. They threw a pitch in the dirt and Grey made a great read on the ball and tried to take third. He was initially safe but then his momentum carried him past the bag and they were able to tag him out. It was just a bad break. We would have had second and third with one out, but instead it ended up being second and two outs. We hit another hard ground ball that they made the play on to end the game.”
Team Louisiana’s roster included: Grant Alexander, Brycen Bennett, Barnes Causey, Kingston Culpepper, Joseph Davison, Rhodes Kilpatrick, John Cole Parker, Grey Ramsey, Jacoby Smith, Henry Walpole, Ryder Walpole, and Eli Wilson.
They are coached by Davison, Jeff Parker and Jordan Taylor.
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