Local boys help win Dizzy Dean title

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SHOWN, LEFT TO RIGHT, are Dustin Hodge, Will Kelley and Conner Strickland.


The Post-Searchlight

Conner Strickland, Dustin Hodge and Will Kelley were part of the Myers Park (Tallahassee, Fla.) Senators 12-under all-star team, which earned the right to compete in the 2012 Dizzy Dean World Series in Southaven, Miss., July 20 through July 26.

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The tournament featured 20 state championship teams, and the Senators finished in first place overall. The Senators defeated the Georgia state champion Sandy Springs Storm, by the score of 6-5, in the World Series championship game.

Myers Park trailed 5-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but eventually came from behind to win. Strickland and Hodge were both 2-for-3 and Kelley finished with a hit and a strong defensive showing at first base. Hodge threw 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief to seal the victory.

Hodge, Kelley and Strickland were also selected to the All-Tournament team. There were 240 kids who participated in the tournament, and only 10 were selected to the All-Tournament team. Hodge was also named the All-Tournament MVP.

Myers Park’s first opponent in the tournament was against Granada (Miss.), which the Senators beat 10-5. Kelley was 2-for-4 and Strickland was 3-for-4, including a go-ahead double. Hodge provided a strong pitching performance.

Myers Park next defeated Jefferson Parish (La.), 9-3. Hodge was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Strickland was called on to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs, and eventually finished with two scoreless innings including five strikeouts. Hodge followed with two more scoreless innings.

In the Senators’ third game against Limestone (Ala.), it went to extra innings before Myers Park walked away with a 10-9 victory. Kelley pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four. Strickland was 3-for-5 with a double and three runs, and Hodge had four hits, including the game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The victory over Limestone put Myers Park into the semifinals against a Section (Ala.) team that came in with a 27-0 mark. Hodge threw three no-hit innings, striking out four, and was 2-for-3 at the plate, as Myers Park won 7-4. Strickland was 3-for-3 and Kelley added a key late hit.

The Myers Park players received a trophy, as well as some baseball equipment from Dizzy Dean Baseball.