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SYAA all-stars fall in district final

WAKEFIELD – Everything was going along perfectly for the Suffolk National all-star team Friday night after a 16-6 win over Southampton/Sussex put it into the championship of the Mustang (ages 9-10) district tournament.

Suffolk National, from Suffolk Youth Athletic Association, had advanced through the winner’s bracket with a 3-0 record and with back-to-back 10-run wins. Suffolk’s head coach, Darren Brown, said he felt good about the pitching he still had in reserve for Saturday’s final. Plus, whoever faced Suffolk would have to win twice to claim the title.

Southampton/Sussex beat Surry late Friday night, came back Saturday morning and kept rolling. Southampton/Sussex posted two or more runs in seven of the 11 innings it played Saturday and won the district championship with wins of 7-5 and 19-16.

Back on Friday, with both squads coming into the afternoon with 2-0 records, as Suffolk had defeated Smithfield and Holland and Southampton/Sussex got past Windsor and Nansemond River, it was Suffolk doing most of the hitting.

It came from all over Suffolk’s batting order. Leadoff hitter Dixon Mills went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI. Third-place hitter Gage Riddick had a double, a triple and two runs. Clean-up guy Andrew Kelley went 3-for-3 with three runs and two RBI.

Down in the order, Dawson Holmes plated three RBI, including two on a triple to deep center field in Suffolk’s five-run second inning that gave Suffolk an 8-4 lead.

Jordan White and Kyle Stuart, the eighth- and ninth-place hitters, reached base every time up and scored two runs each.

Mason Brown and Kelley took care of the pitching, going two innings each as the game ended early with the 10-run rule.

Suffolk National seemed to carry the momentum over into the early stages of Saturday’s final. Tristan DeGuzman held Southampton/Sussex scoreless through its first two frames and Suffolk led 3-0 going to the bottom of the third.

With the aid of two errors, a walk, a hit batter, plus a ton of aggressive base running, Southampton/Sussex changed the game around with four runs in the home half of the third. James Mullin moved from shortstop to the mound to get the last out in the third.

Suffolk regained the lead right away. Stuart singled to drive in White with one out in the fourth. Mills followed with a single scoring Stuart to make it 5-4 Suffolk.

After Mullin pitched a three-up, three-down bottom of the fourth, Suffolk had a big chance to put a few more runs between itself and Southampton/Sussex.

With the bases loaded and one out, White lined sharply, but at Southampton/Sussex’s shortstop, who gloved the liner and easily beat the Suffolk runner back to second to end the inning.

Southampton/Sussex went on to score three runs in the bottom of the fifth to hold Suffolk scoreless in the sixth to take game one.

In game two, both teams needed five pitchers to get through the six-inning game.

Southampton/Sussex raced, literally with their ability on the base paths, to an 8-0 lead through an inning and a half.

Suffolk got almost all of it right back with a seven-run bottom of the second. After Mullin singled to lead off, stole second and third, then eventually scored on a single by Stuart, the rest of the rally came in twos and it was all with two outs.

Mills dropped a single into shallow center to score Deonte Brown and Stuart. Riddick singled to left to bring in Mills and Holmes. Kelley sent a liner over the right fielder’s head for a two-run inside-the-park homer to make it 8-7 Southampton/Sussex.

Despite getting to within a run, Suffolk never got the lead. Southampton/Sussex scored five in the third to go up 13-7, then three in the fourth and two in the fifth to go up 18-11.

Kelley and Mullin had three hits in the second game. Mills, Holmes and Stuart had two hits each.

Southampton/Sussex goes on to the sectional round of PONY all-star tournaments starting this coming week in Chesapeake.

“It just didn’t happen for us today. We spotted them those eight runs and we just could never get all the way back,” said Darren Brown.

“This is a really good group. It was a lot of fun. These kids like to play ball. They are great to coach and all of them did their job,” Brown said.