Dre Lawson has hit a few home runs in his career, but his trip around the bases after sending a ball sailing over the left field fence Saturday afternoon ended with a state championship waiting for him and his Statesboro-Bulloch U10 team at home plate.
Lawson’s blast was the last in a week full of offensive outbursts as Statesboro defeated Glynn County to claim the GRPA Class A/B machine-pitch state title at Mill Creek Regional Park.
“The main thing we focused on is to have fun and enjoy it,” Statesboro coach Gavin Colquitt said. “Playing for a state championship – that’s something you might not get a chance to do again. I know that all of our players were just thankful for the opportunity to keep playing to get this far and to just keep having fun.”
A total 13 teams from around the state started play on Wednesday in a double-elimination tournament format. Statesboro didn’t need the benefit of the one permissible loss, rolling through the winners bracket and ultimately taking down the same Glynn squad in the championship that it had defeated in the tournament’s first game.
Throughout the week, the theme for Statesboro was an unending offensive onslaught.
From Wednesday’s 10-0 trouncing to Saturday’s championship-clinching victory, Statesboro racked up 60 runs in its five games and scored 10 or more in each contest . Three innings into Saturday’s game, Statesboro was locked in a 4-4 tie.
“We stress taking it one thing at a time,” Statesboro coach Mitchell Cason said. “No matter the score, we just focus on every inning, every out – whatever we can do to succeed right now. Our guys showed that today.”
Statesboro wasted no time in responding to its most legitimate threat in the entire tournament.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kamron Mikell launched an opposite-field home run to regain the lead. Statesboro added three more runs in the inning to take control of the game and a four-run fifth inning was capped by Lawson’s blast as the run rule brought the game to an early end.
Saturday’s state championship is a fitting culmination for a team that has seemed destined to achieve great things since its first games in February. The team’s great talent resulted in a heavy workload, totaling 59 games throughout the season. Statesboro posted a 56-3 mark in those games, making its state title quite representative of who the best team in Georgia truly is.
“That shows how committed and consistent our boys have been all season.” Cason said. “There’s a lot of credit to go around for this. The kids have to buy in, but we also have to credit our great group of parents who have been committed to getting these guys to practices and games all year.”
After months of competition – and with a state title now under their belts – the Statesboro kids now move on to bigger things. This year’s players will cross over to live pitching next year, but will look to keep on swinging and keep on winning.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.