A state title is never an easy task. Winning that title while going through the loser’s bracket brings it to a new level.
That was exactly what the Hudson 9U team accomplished at the recent Dixie State Tournament in Texarkana.
After stumbling through a 10-3 tournament-opening loss to Paris, Hudson more than made up from that effort in rattling off five straight wins to capture the state title.
In the process, they also punched their ticket to the Dixie World Series.
“After the initial shaky defense in game one, we settled in to play solid baseball,” Hudson head coach Mark Dickerson said.
The local all-stars headed to the state tournament after sweeping Center in the district tournament in emphatic fashion.
Hudson opened the state tournament with that loss to Paris in which some sloppy play in the field mixed with a rough day at the plate led to the rare lopsided setback.
The following day, it was a different story as Hudson posted 14 hits, including six triples, in a 23-3 walloping of Texarkana.
That was followed by one of the tightest games of the tournament in a 4-2 win over East Montgomery County. Each team allowed only four baserunners, but Hudson was able to make the most of its opportunities in a 4-2 victory.
After hitting their stride with those back-to-back wins, there was no slowing down Hudson in the fourth game as it took advantage of a Corsicana team that had run out of pitching in storming to a 19-3 win.
With a spot in the championship game on the line, Hudson once again took advantage of its pitching depth by throwing a shutout in a 12-0 win over Splendora. At one point in the game, Hudson had 11 straight batters that scored in taking control of the game.
With payback and a state title on the line the next day, Hudson wasn’t about to let a second chance at Paris slip through its fingers.
Hudson scored four runs in the first inning, and the pitching staff and defense took over from there in claiming a 4-2 win that gave it the state title.
It was a fitting end for a team that dominated the competition following a shaky opener.
“We went 5-1 behind a balanced pitching rotation in which we threw nine pitchers,” Dickerson said. “We played solid baseball, including small ball, sacrifice bunts and flies and lots of extra base hits to win five straight elimination games.
“We had games interrupted by weather and administrative delays but sustained confident approaches at the plate and on the mound.”
It was the second state title for this age group as Hudson’s 8U team also took the championship.
The Hornets are now headed to the World Series in Brookhaven, Mississippi, which will be from July 18-21.
Team members are Jase Dickerson, Kullen Fountain, Ace Horan, Marcus Johnson, Max Lowe, Buddy Mendez, Isaiah Pierce, Cayne Powers, Blaine Slomba, Sawyer Stephens and Caleb Terrazas.
The 9U team is coached by Dickerson, Adrian Fountain and Jeff Stephens.
The team is currently raising money to help offset costs for the upcoming World Series.
On Tuesday, Hudson’s Subway will donate a portion of their proceeds from 5-9 p.m.
The team will also be washing cars at the event to help raise money for their trip.