MURFREESBORO - Munford beat two of the best teams in the state - Arlington and Collierville - last week to get to the Class AAA state tournament for the first time in 13 years.
But Munford's postseason run that featured some dramatic wins and timely hitting came to end Wednesday morning at Siegel High School.
Dobyns Bennett clean-up hitter hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and that proved to be enough as they beat Munford 4-1. The Cougars, which lost their state tourney opener yesterday to Brentwood, finished the season at 21-18.
"We just couldn't get anything going," said Munford coach Scotty Yount. "I'm not one to complain about the umpires and balls and strikes. That's just not who I am, but I felt the strike zone, in both games, was all over the place. It just didn't go our away .., We couldn't seem to put enough quality at-bats together."
"We just couldn't string hits together," said Austin Cousar, one of Munford's 12 seniors.
"We just didn't have timely hitting like we should have, just like yesterday," said Corey Simmons, another senior. "Just didn't get hits at the right time."
The game started well for Munford. Simmons led off with a single and Garrett Baugh came up next and also singled to put runners on first and second. Simmons came around to score on an error, but Munford had just three hits the rest of the game off Starnes, who struck out five over seven innings.
Baugh was 2 for 2 at the plate and Steven Kendrick and Riley Bampfield singled for Munford's other two hits.
Simmons went the distance for Munford and held the Dobyns Bennett offense down the final five innings. He struck out six, walked three and allowed eight hits.
As the Munford players left the field, the 200 or so Munford fans in attendance gave them a nice round of applause. Not too many people outside of Munford believed the Cougars would be playing in Murfreesboro when the season began.
"I think we'll be proud of the season," Cousar said. "We'll have good memories."
"We should be proud because this hasn't been done in 13 years," Simmons said. "Not a lot of people can say they came to Murfreesboro and played in the state tournament. I think we should be proud of that."
Yount, who is in his first season as Munford's head coach, said he could not be any prouder of his team performed.
"It's like I told them. Not everybody gets to come to Murfreesboro and play for a state champsionship. That's something nobody can take away from us. We earned our way here. My emotions aren't emotions of disappointment. They are emotions of joy. They ought to be proud of what we accomplished. Absolutely."
Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.