Loyd Star wins district title — Hornets sweep the West Lincoln Bears in a double-header Friday
When Enterprise took the first two games from Loyd Star in late March, the Hornets still controlled their fate to win their fourth consecutive district championship.
Their fate: Go undefeated over the next seven district games.
On Friday night Loyd Star finished the 7-0 run to win the district championship with two run-rule victories over West Lincoln.
Loyd Star’s final seven district contests saw them rise to the occasion, as they outscored opponents 83-5 to capture the No. 1 seed.
“It’s definitely a big momentum boost to be sitting at No. 1 in the district,” Loyd Star head coach Jared Britt said. “They’ve worked hard for this. They deserve it with the time and effort that they put in. I know this will give them the momentum that they need to have in the first round of the playoffs.”
Britt said that he wanted the Hornets to get off to a fast start on the day, and his team responded to that, putting up five runs in the first inning to take control of the game. Loyd Star would score runs in every inning after that to run rule the Bears 12-2 in five innings.
The Hornets were led on the mound by Dylan Case, who threw four innings and only surrendered two third-inning runs.
“I was trying to stay ahead in the count and not miss too many spots,” Case said. “My fastball was moving well, and that helped me.”
“(Case) is a bulldog on the mound,” Britt said. “He’s going to give you everything that he has. His fastball was working well tonight, and he was able to throw the slider in there. He kept working ahead in the count, and that really kept (West Lincoln) off balance.”
Loyd Star would score in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by James Beard.
The Bears would answer with two runs of their own in the top of the third inning as Garrett Maxwell hit a two-RBI double to get the Bears on the board.
It would be all Hornets after that as Loyd Star put up a single run in the bottom of the fourth with a Dylan Smith RBI single.
Loyd Star would take advantage of West Lincoln mistakes in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Loyd Star reached base via three consecutive bunts, Dylan Smth hit a two-RBI single, and Reese DeHart finished the game with a RBI single to run rule the Bears at 12-2.
Landon Lynch threw the first four innings for the Bears, and he pitched well, giving up only four earned runs during his outing.
The Hornets started off fast again in game two, plating five runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a commanding lead and then kept scoring runs in a runaway 15-2 contest to clinch the district title.
The scoring got started with a Dane Smith RBI single, along with RBI base-hits from Logan Smith, Rials Hester, Brent Cade and DeHart.
The second inning was where it got away from the Bears, as they allowed Loyd Star to push across nine runs in the frame to push the lead out to 14-0 behind a RBI base-hit from Smith.
West Lincoln would plate two runs in the top of the third inning to give them a little separation from getting run ruled, but Loyd Star would add a run in the third to make the deficit 13.
Hester shut the Bears down in the top of the fourth inning to end the game in a run-rule victory.
Hester picked up win in the contest pitching four innings and only surrendering the two runs in the third inning.
“Winning the district really gives us some momentum going into the first round of the playoffs,” Smith said.
West Lincoln will take on St. Joe’s Catholic School Friday in the first round of the playoffs. Loyd Star will take on Pelahatchie in the first round Thursday.
Story by Collin Brister