Meridian Park racks up runs, but falls short of title .
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Individual trophies are always good for the mantle, but catcher Landon Brooks would gladly give back the one he got at the Dizzy Dean World Series.
Brooks, one of the leaders on the Tallahassee 14-and-under team, was named to the All-Tournament team, along with teammate Davis McCall. Their team finished tied for fourth place in the weeklong tournament in South Haven, Miss.
They fell two games short of reaching the championship game, a spot that Brooks would gladly exchange his individual prize for.
“For sure,” said Brook. “I would give up anything to get to that championship game and try to get first place. I would give my all-tournament (trophy) back.”
The team from Meridian Park seemed on its way to running through the tournament, scoring 25 runs on the way to winning its first two games. When they made their exit, they had outscored their five opponents by combined scores of 52-18.
“How do you lose like that? That’s just baseball,” said coach Randy Hopkins. “That’s what boggled the mind.”
But Hopkins wasn’t short on praise for his players’ effort. They were in every game to the finish, he said, adding that the downturn began after their first loss in their third game.
Ironically, Brooks couldn’t finish that game after being hit in the head. That affected the team the rest of the way, Hopkins said, although it came back to get its last win before being eliminated.
“Mentally that (third game) took a little bit out of the ballclub because he (Brooks) is a leader,”Hopkins said. “We are not crying over spilled milk because we should have won that game.“The boys did an outstanding job. I was very, very proud of them. They represented their families and the state of Florida very, very well. We had other coaches who came to me and they couldn’t believe the character of this ballclub.”
Meridian Park won the berth to the World Series by taking a local district tournament. That gave seven of the players a chance to return to South Haven in a quest to win the title that eluded them last year when they finished as runner-up.
Brook said he and his teammates will cherish the appearance in a World Series, despite the outcome this time around.
“Obviously it’s not fun to lose, but we played as a team and went down as a team,” he said. “I think playing with my best friends all week, all the time was once in a lifetime.”