Eleven-year-old squads take third straight title

By By Ryan Satcher / staff writer
July 15, 2004
The Meridian 11-year-old Cal Ripken All-Stars battled back from the losers' bracket in the state tournament in Booneville this past weekend to three-peat as state champions.
They beat undefeated Orange Grove 4-3 to force a second game and then shut down Orange Grove 2-0 to claim the state championship.
In Meridian's first game of the tournament, they slipped past Vicksburg 4-3 to remain in the winners' bracket.
Meridian scored all four of its runs in the second inning and Daniel Knox, Tyler Stanley and Wes Stokes helped hold onto the lead.
Will Abbey and Nate Fincher each had a double in the win and Stokes, Fincher, Zac Johnson, Luke Stanley and Alex Stegall each had a single.
Meridian fell into the losers' bracket with a loss in the second game of the tournament. Orange Grove knocked off Meridian 7-1.
Meridian bounced back in its third game with an 11-1 victory over Florence.
E.J. Perry had a home run and Knox and Kirby Bishop each had a double. Fincher, Stegall, Johnson, Stokes, Jeremy Kidd, Abbey and Luke Stanley had singles in the win.
In their fourth game, Meridian knocked off Vicksburg 5-1. Knox and Kidd each had a triple while Stokes had a double and Fincher, Stegall and Tyler Stanley each singled.
Meridian slipped by Booneville to move into a rematch with Orange Grove. Meridian scored on a sacrifice fly by Kasey Hinton in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 2-1 win. Knox and Kidd had doubles in the win and Perry, Stegall, Jason Yarbor and Bishop each singled.
Meridian knocked off Orange Grove with some more sixth- inning heroics to force the if-necessary game in the double-elimination tournament.
Perry scored on a sacrifice fly by Stegall in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Meridian a 4-3 win over Orange Grove. Knox, Perry and Stegall each had a double in the win while Bishop, Kidd, Stokes and Abbey had a single.
In the championship game, Meridian used outstanding pitching to take a 2-0 win over Orange Grove.
Stokes and Tyler Stanley combined to shut out Orange Grove while striking out six batters and allowing just two walks. No Orange Grove runner was able to get past first base.
On offense, Meridian scored a run in the first inning as Stegall scored on a single by Perry. Johnson singled in a run in the top of the sixth inning to give Meridian an insurance run in the victory.
Meridian will now play in the regional tournament in Paragould, Ark., on July 29.
Players for Meridian include: Nate Fincher, Zac Johnson, Daniel Knox, E.J. Perry, Jeremy Kidd, Wes Stokes, Kasey Hinton, Tyler Stanley, Luke Stanley, Jason Yarbor, Alex Stegall, Will Abbey and Kirby Bishop.

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