Mississippi Royals, Local 12U Tournament Team, places 2nd at Perfect Game World Series

Published 3:50 pm Monday, June 26, 2023

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NATCHEZ — For the second year in a row, the Mississippi Royals, a local 12-and-Under tournament baseball team from Natchez placed very well at a major tournament in the Gulf Coast region.

The Royals, led by head coach Adams Conerly of Natchez, finished as the runner-up at the Perfect Game World Series held in Gulf Shores, Ala. last Tuesday, June 20 through last Friday, June 23 with a unique format — pool play action followed by a double-elimination bracket in each age group.

“We have 11 players and they are from all around the area. Several different schools — Adams County Christian School, Cathedral School, Natchez Public Schools, Delta Charter School, Monterey, and we have one from Franklin County – Eli Twiner. He didn’t play. He was injured. He hurt his arm a couple of months ago. But he was on the team,” Conerly said.

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Last year, they had a runner-up finish at the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) World Series that was held in Gulfport.

Conerly noted that there were 11 teams from the 12-and-Under age group and that the Royals were the only team representing Mississippi.

“We had teams from Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, and Louisiana,” Conerly added.

The Royals went just 1-3 in pool play games that were played last Tuesday and Wednesday, yet somehow advanced the double-elimination bracket portion of the tournament, which started last Thursday.

They won their first two games despite having to play back-to-back games, Conerly said. They then lost their third game of the day to a AAA team 6-5 to be knocked down the losers’ bracket heading into play last Friday.

“We had to come in and win the once game to advance to the championship game and we won 3-2 over the Midland Bulls from Midland, Texas. It was more of a pitchers’ duel. Not a lot of hitting,” Conerly said.

In that game, starting pitcher Jax Beach pitched five strong innings before Lucas Mullins came on in relief to pitch the sixth inning. Conerly said he was proud of the way those two stepped up to help the Royals advance to the championship game.

“They were dominant in holding them to just two runs. That was an integral part of winning that game, along with the other great defensive plays.,” Conerly noted.

Unfortunately, the Mississippi Royals ran into a juggernaut in the championship game in the form of the Adidas Titans, a AAA team from Austin, Texas. The Titans won that game 9-2 and the title.

“The boys were exhausted by that point. It was their ninth game in four days. That was a lot of baseball,” Conerly said.

After narrowly advancing out of pool play, Conerly added that there were very little chance of his team to go as far as they did. But he knew that the Royals still had a chance because they believed in themselves and each other, as well as what they went through earlier in the season.

“From the outside looking in, there were no expectations for us to make it to the championship game. But we knew what the boys could do and we could the right players in the right positions at the right time. Throughout the season, they made it to four championship games in other tournaments,” Conerly said. “We knew it was going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of perseverance and a lot of determination.”

Conerly said there was another big difference between his team and other teams playing in the Perfect Game World Series — the attitude in which they played with.

“We played with a lot of class and good sportsmanship. We definitely came across a lot of teams without any class and any sportsmanship. That’s unusual for 12-year-olds,” Conerly said.

Joining Conerly on the coaching staff are Jimmy Mullins and Adam Flynn.