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Longhorns, Dawgs leading the way in Major Little League

By Matt Hill

The Tarr’s Longhorns had a big win over the Farmer’s State Dawgs on Thursday, then backed it up in a big way Saturday.
The Longhorns, playing the only team other than the Dawgs to defeat them this year, had the upper hand on Saturday night following an 8-7 victory over the Braves at Cunningham Park.
The Longhorns jumped out to a 7-1 lead on the heels of two Payton Fenner home run, with the one in the second being over the fence.

“I’m real proud of them,” Arnold said. “We played the top three contenders in four games this week. Payton, Justin Pardue and Cody Bailie have shown good leadership and the kids really like them. Talent wise the Braves are right up there, but we were lucky we beat them a couple of times.”
The Braves rallied back in the fourth when after the bases were loaded, Ronnie Stonecifer homered to bring the game at a 7-5 count.
The score was tied at 7-7 when the leadership of the Longhorns came into play as the older kids helped settle pitcher Isaiah Penley down and he was able to get out of the inning.
“We have great leadership,” Arnold said. “Cody and Payton told Isaiah to throw strikes and the rest is history.”
Pardue turned out to be the hero for the Longhorns as his RBI single in the bottom of the fourth proved to be the game winner as the game was called due to the time limit.
The Longhorns were struggling early on, but has grown into a strong team.
“I think the parents were about to lynch me after the jamboree when we were blown out by the Dawgs and Braves. I was hoping for a 3-3 split with the Dawgs and Braves but to come out and win four out of six I’m tickled too death.
Arnold says there have been some unsung heroes on this team.
“Caden Arnold, Tyler Woods and Simon Wheeler have really come on,” Arnold said. “In our 5-4 win over the Dodgers the other night, our big hitters weren’t hitting and if they hadn’t been hitting we would have lost that game.
The Dawgs are battling the Longhorns for the league title and on Saturday defeated the Diamondbacks 16-4 and the Pirates 22-2.
The Dawgs were able to get two good wins by hitting well and being patient at the plate.
“It’s always good to win,” Dawgs head coach Jerry Whitener said. “We have a bunch of good kids. The Pirates have great attitudes and they’re a bunch of good boys.”

The Dawgs game with the Diamondbacks was a continuation game from a rain out and the Dawgs were able to get a good pitching performance from Daniel Livorsi.
“Daniel hasn’t pitched much and I thought he did great,” Whitener said. “I have a lot of older kids who can pitch. I didn’t have much opportunity to use him. He’s going to be really good the next couple of years.”
Caleb Throop and Nick Whitener had big days at the plate and overall the team hit very well on the afternoon.
“We’ve hit all year for the most part,” Whitener said. “Like any baseball team we’ve had slumps but for the most part we’ve hit pretty consistently all year.”
The Dawgs lost 7-5 to the Longhorns last Thursday in a classic battle.
For Whitener, it was a heartbreaking defeat.
“We thought the Tarr’s, Braves and us would be the top three teams and they have a very good team and we do too,” Whitener said. “Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. It was tied up until the last inning and then they got two and we couldn’t score. It was a great game. They did what they needed to do. They’ve got a good team.
No matter what the year or who is coaching, the Dawgs are always at or near the top of the league.
If any team has a tradition, it’s probably the Dawgs.
“Once you get somebody from a family, siblings follow along and I think a lot of it is you have brothers following brothers and they’re pretty good ball players,” Whitener said. “Bo Henson had the Dogs for a long time and he’ll probably be back in a couple of years.
In other games Saturday, the Diamondbacks defeated the Raiders 17-7 and the Braves defeated the Pirates 21-9.