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Straughn wins area title

Straughn’s Cody Hughes hit a lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday night to help lead his team to win the Class 3A, Area 3 championship over Luverne 4-3 on senior night.

Hughes’ home run broke a 3-3 tie after Straughn’s defense stranded Luverne with bases loaded in the top of the 10th inning.

Hughes said he hit the home run with a little bit of help from “the man upstairs.”

“I read that scripture right there (Colossions 3:17 posted in the dugout) before I came up to bat and I just let God do the work,” he said. “The pitch was right down the middle.”

Straughn will host Dale County in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs next Friday night.

Straughn (27-6) took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Chase Short hit an RBI single to score Luke Fussell.

Luverne brought the game back to 3-3 in the sixth inning on an RBI double from Hunner Moody to score Evan Richardson.

With two outs and Moody on second base, Straughn’s Josh Dewrell threw the ball to second base, where Fussell picked off Moody going to third.

Straughn coach John Fussell said the win wouldn’t have happened without the help of everybody in the dugout.

“We had people that struggled at the plate and they made plays in the field. We had people that might have struggled on a play or two at the field and had a good night at the plate,” Fussell said. “Everybody in this dugout, whether they were a starter or a pinch runner, or chart keeper — it was like they were out there playing.”

Another pick off occurred in the top of the second when Dewrell threw to first to get Luverne’s Zane Sexton out.

Dewrell allowed seven hits in eight innings and struck out 12.

“It was a great experience for all of us,” Dewrell said. “We kept battling and we never gave up and held hope. Cody Hughes came through with a big homer and we just give all the thanks to God. He was with us through the whole game.”

At the beginning of the game, senior first baseman Chase Parker was honored.

“It’s special to me because we never actually beat Luverne, much less back-to-back games,” Parker said.

In the third inning, Straughn’s Stinson caught a pop up and then made a double play when he threw the ball to second to end the inning.

The defense kicked in and the game stayed 3-3 all the way until Hughes’ solo home run.

After Dewrell was retired from the game, Nick Allen came in in the ninth inning and earned the save, striking out three.

Luverne scored its first run of the game in the top of the first on an error when Monterio May made it around after hitting a single.

Straughn added two runs in the third inning when Zack Lunsford scored on sacrifice ground out by Fussell, and courtesy runner Levi Lumpkin scoring on a passed ball.

Dewrell was 1-for-5 with one double and one run; Fussell was 2-for-5 with two singles, one run and one RBI; Short was 3-for-5 with three singles and one RBI; Hughes was 2-for-6 with one single, one home run and one RBI; and Lunsford was 1-for-3 with one single and one run.

Fussell said after the game that a key component in Friday night’s win was that the team “never gave up.”

“We’ve got a Bible verse, Colossians 3:17, which says, ‘everything that you do, do for the Lord to glorify Him,’ ” Fussell said. “We don’t always do that with our actions or the way we play, but I was real happy that they had a great attitude and they encouraged each other and never gave up. I just truly believe that they were blessed in that.”