Valiant Minden All-Start teams fall short of state tourneys

By Josh Beavers

Two Minden teams were in action over the weekend during the annual Dixie Youth All-Stars tournaments. Unfortunately, both squads came up short in bids to make it to the state tourneys slated for later this month.

Our local Recreation Complex played host to the 10U Triple A District tourney while Shreveport hosted the AA Coach Pitch Tournament. Eight teams were in town for the 10U Triple A tournament.

In 10U action, Minden stumbled in the first game and lost against the Shreveport Nationals. On Saturday morning, the local boys rallied to defeat Union Parish by a score of 8-5, but that night Minden lost in an elimination match against Blanchard. The defeat knocked Minden out of the tournament and ended the season for our local boys.

Coach Kent Staggs said bright spots for Minden included Colton Cooper’s excellent pitching in the second game. Tate Lowe also pitched well. Mikie Parker got two hits and an inside-the-park home run. John Hollas Robinson struck out seven in his game. Other excellent performers included Kingston Harris.

Over to the west in Caddo Parish, the 8U AA Coach Pitch Tournament was the scene of a marathon stretch of games for the Minden boys. All totaled, Minden played in nine games during the tournament and narrowly missed making it to state competition.

Bossier defeated Minden by a single run (11-10) to take the final spot in the state field.

Coach Clint Powell said he could not be more proud of the way the team played and responded to so many games in such a short period of time.

“Most of these boys had never played two games in a single day, but on Saturday we played five,” Powell told The Journal during a phone interview on Monday afternoon. “They showed a lot of poise to go as far as they did in the tourney.”

Powell said the squad was young, composed of an equal number of seven- and eight-year-olds, whereas most other participants fielded teams exclusively consisting of eight-year-olds.

“Eleven out of 12 of our kids had never played travel ball,” the coach told The Journal. “The other teams were used to what went on. Our boys should be congratulated for giving it their all and making it as far as they did.”

Standouts for Minden included Jayden and Jordan Hartwell, a pair of twin outfielders, as well as shortstop Ryder Hollingsworth. Also earning special recognition was Bentley Nealy who was a consistent hitter and made plays in the field.

State tournaments for six Minden teams begin later this month. One more event is slated at the district level, and it’s being held right here in Minden. The 12U O-Zone tourney begins Thursday.

Check The Journal every Tuesday and Thursday for All-Star recaps and previews of upcoming action.

PHOTO: The 8U Minden All-Stars played nine games in three days over the July 4 weekend. A one-run loss to Bossier denied Minden a spot in the state tournament.

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