The Tupelo 49ers’ magical run in the regional tournament came up just short on Sunday.
Louisiana’s Pedal Valves defeated Tupelo, 4-2, in the championship game of the 2019 American Legion Baseball Southeast Regional Tournament in Tampa, Florida.
The 49ers finished the five-day tournament as the Regional runners-up with a 4-2 record. Over the course of the tournament, Tupelo defeated Fort Mill Post 43, Tallahassee Post 13, West Tampa Post 248, and Troy Post 70. Both of its losses came from Pedal Valves – in the third round and in Sunday’s championship game.
“If this was a vacation and we had to get to a gas station, we pushed it the last mile,” coach McKinley Holland said. “Our guys gave everything they had this week, they just came up a little short. They ran out of gas.”
Tupelo, nicknamed the “Dirty Dozen” by fans and commentators at the tournament for having only 12 players on its roster, left the tournament with performances to be proud of, especially on the pitchers mound.
The 49ers entered the tournament with only eight pitchers, and they all saw action.
In the win over Fort Mill, Will Armistead (Mooreville, ICC) pitched a complete game and hit the game-winning three-run home run. In the win over Tallahassee, Bowen Carlock (Saltillo) pitched six innings and allowed only three runs.
In the win over West Tampa, Hammer Franks (Mooreville, NWCC) threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and he recorded the save against Tallahassee. In the Sunday morning semifinal Zac Gann (Booneville) tossed a complete game against Troy to push Tupelo into the championship.
Mack Scruggs, Ramsey Ivy, Blaine Martin and Alex Barnett each saw time on the mound as well.
“We were written off on Day 1,” Holland said. “We only had 12 players on our team and we watched teams walk in with 18 players and it seemed like countless pitchers.
“Our pitching staff really was phenomenal. They really, really gave us a chance to win this thing.”
Tupelo finished its season as one of the nations’ top 16 Legion baseball teams, the Mississippi state champs for the second-straight summer, and with a 22-12-1 record.
“Our guys played the game the right way, and they were rewarded for it this summer,” Holland said. “We are proud to represent Post 49 and all the veterans that do everything so that we can play this game.”