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Loyd Star wins 2A state championship

Redemption is complete for the Loyd Star Hornets.

The pain and agony of defeat in the 2A state title series loss to East Union last season fueled and motivated the Hornets to get back to this point.

They made the most of their moment as the Hornets took an early lead and never looked back, winning game two by a score of 7-3 Friday night.

The win gives Loyd Star their first state championship in 37 years.

Loyd Star kept loose and relaxed in the dugout before the game, playing jokes on each other and tossing a beach ball to stay calm.

This was a different team than the one that got swept last year by East Union.

Head coach Jared Britt preached to his team all season long to get back to this point and turn the tides.

Don’t be happy just making it to Trustmark Park. Focus on the task at hand and win a state championship, he said.

Behind a gutsy pitching performance from senior Parker Flowers, the Hornets backed up their senior captain and sent him out the right way. Flowers pitched 5.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, five walks and struck out eight batters.

Loyd Star jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off of four hits, including a leadoff double from sophomore James Beard. RBI singles from junior Cade Hodges, senior Cole Smith and senior Bradyn Brister gave the Hornets the early 3-0 lead.

The Urchins made Flowers work every pitch and drove his pitch count up, but the  senior kept calm  and stayed in the zone.

With the Urchins cutting the lead to 3-2 heading to the bottom of the fourth, junior Dylan Smith hit an RBI single to center field that scored two to make it 5-2. Sophomore Dane Smith followed with an RBI single to center field to increase the lead to 6-2.

Smith scored from third on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth to increase the Hornets’ lead to 7-2.

East Union tacked on a run in the top of the sixth to make it 7-3, but freshman Tanner Watts came in for Flowers on the mound and got the Hornets out of the jam.

It was meant to be for the Hornets as Watts finished the Urchins off in the top of the seventh to take home the 7-3 win and a state championship.

For the seniors — Flowers, Konner Allen, Cole Smith and Brister — there was no better feeling for them than going out on top as a state championship team.

Redemption was complete and the Hornets are partying like it’s 1980.