The Columbia County Stars 14-and-under baseball team has had a summer to remember.
The squad plays in the ultra-competitive United States Speciality Sports Association AAA Division. After an amazing 48 games, the team found themselves 38-10 with a state title under their belt.
The state championship earned the team a berth to the AAA 14-and-under World Series in Tulsa, Okla.
Last week, the Stars spent the early part of the week steamrolling their competition en route to six straight victories.
Of the 48 teams in Oklahoma, it appeared clear that the group from Columbia County was one of the teams to beat.
The team's head coach, Billy Gamblin, was splitting time between being a focused and determined coach and a proud dad.
His son, Patrick Gamblin, was simply dominant on the mound for the Stars. In his first two starts, Gamblin tossed a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts, followed by a 1-hitter with 10 strikeouts.
That's 14 innings of one-hit ball with 24 strikeouts. But Gamblin was not the only Star's player to make a name for himself in Tulsa.
The Stars team members are: Patrick Gamblin (front, from left) Cody Cozart, Tyler Cochran, Brandon Dominey, Tyler Barden, Jeffrey Rice, Patrick Arrington and A. J. Thibideau; Billy Gamblin, head coach (back, from left) Daniel Duncan, Aaron Lewis, Will Anderson, Shawn McCain, Tanner Hall, Mike Arrington, coach, and Keith Barden, coach.
Aaron Lewis went 3-0 as a pitcher, while Jeff Rice and Shawn McCain each hit near .500 at the plate.
All four players were named to the All-Tournament Team. Not bad considering that there were 48 teams.
Unfortunately, the Stars lost their seventh game to eventual World Series champion, the Arkansas Travelers out of Fayetteville, by a score of 6-3. That put the Stars in the championship game of the loser's bracket against the East Texas Gators, a team they had beaten earlier in the Tournament.
This time the Gators, from Houston, got the better of the Stars 12-6, despite a grand slam from Jeff Rice. When the dust settled, the Stars had earned a third-place finish against the best 14-and-under baseball teams in the country. So congrats to Gamblin, his assistants, Mike Arrington and Keith Bardon, and all of the Stars players and parents.
Below is a look at the team's World Series game-by-game
Game 1 - 11-5 Win over Lakewood Tigers (Dallas, Texas)
Game 2 - 6-0 Win over Oklahoma Crimson Tide (Gamblin tossed a no-hitter with 14 K's)
Game 3 - 12-8 win over K.C. Tigers (Kansas City, Missouri)
Game 4 - 13-11 win over Ohio Diamond Hawks
Game 5 - 5-2 win over Novi Heat (Detroit, Michigan)
Game 6 - 4-1 win over the East Texas Gators (Houston)
Game 7 - 6-3 loss to Arkansas Travelers
Game 8 - 12-6 loss to East Texas Gators (Jeff Rice had a Grand Slam HR)
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