Roy Johnson heard some discouraging news prior to his Itawamba Indians’ Monday game against the Lynn Haven (Fla.) Longhorns in the semifinals of the Dizzy Dean 10-Year-Old World Series.
“I was told by another team from Florida that nobody they’d seen in this tournament could play with that bunch,” Johnson said.
The Longhorns made Johnson and his previously unbeaten club believers with their 12-0 victory against the Indians at Tupelo’s SportsPlex.
The win puts the Florida-based team, now 3-0, in Wednesday’s championship game. The Longhorns have outscored their opponents 36-0 in the three games.
Itawamba dropped into the loser’s bracket and will play at 1 p.m. today against an opponent to be determined for a shot at a rematch against Lynn Haven.
Johnson’s scouting report on the Longhorns said they could hit the fastball. He countered with a much-slower hurler, Jacob Smith, as his starter.
The Longhorns adjusted, belting two home runs and scoring seven runs in the first inning. Gunner Smith had a two-run shot while Trenton Gibbens opened the game with a solo homer.
“We’d seen them killing 60 (mph) all week,” Johnson said, “so we tried 30. We wanted to get them out on their front foot.”
Lynn Haven took an 11-0 lead with four more runs in the second inning. Marquez Oates and Lucas Dunn provided the Longhorns with doubles.
The winners added a final run in the third inning to give them enough to win by the 10-run rule through four innings.
Itawamba, which had batted in the mid .300s throughout the tournament, was held hitless by Oates and starter Alec Aleywine, who recorded six strikeouts in three innings of work.
“I guess we’re like everybody else,” Johnson said. “Nobody’s scored a run on them.”
In the Dizzy Dean 12-Year-Old World Series, Bill Bond Baseball of Pensacola, Fla., awaits the winner of today’s loser’s bracket play. The Florida team can claim that championship with a victory Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal