BOONEVILLE, Mo. – A team of 12-year-old Houston baseball all-stars rallied for a thrilling victory in the opening round of the Cal Ripken State Tournament before dropping its final two games over the weekend.
It was the first-ever appearance for a Houston team at the tournament. Houston’s baseball and softball teams joined the Cal Ripken League this past year.
In Friday’s opener at Harley Park in Booneville, Houston erased an early five-run deficit for an 11-8 victory. Later that day, Houston was defeated 16-6 by New Madrid from the southeast part of the state. Mineral Area sent Houston home from the double-elimination tournament with a victory Saturday.
Booneville completed a comeback through the loser’s bracket by beating New Madrid 5-1 Monday in the championship game. It was the first state title since 1987 for Booneville, which advances to play at the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament in North Dakota.
In its opener, Houston trailed Brookfield 3-1 after the first inning and 6-2 after two. After pushing across one run in the top half of the third, Houston tacked on four more runs in the fourth to tie the game at 6-all.
Brookfield plated two runs in the fourth to go ahead 8-6, but Houston again rallied with three runs in the fifth to retake the lead. Houston added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to cement the come-from-behind win.
Starting pitcher Devin Coulter gave up eight runs on 13 hits in six innings for the win. He struck out four and walked two.
Coulter also led Houston’s offensive attack with three singles and one run knocked in. D.J. McNew had one single and two RBIs, while Tanner Cantrell and Austin Foster added one single and one RBI apiece. Kolby Walker and Aaron Cantrell had one hit each for Houston.
Blake Linebaugh, who surrendered four runs on three hits in two innings, took the loss for Brookfield. He struck out one and walked one batter.
Gage Maxwell, who started the game, gave up five runs on three hits and six walks in three-plus innings. Maxwell struck out two batters.
Bryson Corf, who pitched the final inning, issued two runs on two hits and one walk while striking out one.
For Brookfield, which actually out-hit Houston 13-8, Bryson Corf went 4-for-4 with two singles, two doubles and two RBIs. Tyler Starlin had two singles and two RBIs, while Jacob Morton added two singles and one RBI.