July 17, 2013 Edition

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The Arkansas Storm, a 12-and-under baseball team based in Jonesboro, were runners-up in the USSSA World Series Tournament held in Niceville, Fla., July 12-13. Team members include (front, from left): Parker Williams, Zach Biggers, Eli Stracener, Kai Cunningham, Cade Burris; (back) coach Shane Cunningham, Devin Lipford, Zane Neves, Noah Gatlin, Auggie Wicker, Cameron Posten and coach Greg Biggers. Cunningham, Burris and Wicker are from Walnut Ridge.

Storm finishes second
in World Series

The Arkansas Storm, a 12-and-under baseball team based in Jonesboro, which includes three players from Walnut Ridge, finished as runners-up in the USSSA World Series Tournament held in Niceville, Fla., July 12-13.

The team, which includes Kai Cunningham, Cade Burris and Auggie Wicker, went 6-2 in tournament play before falling to a team from Houston in the finals, 8-0.

Shane Cunningham, who served as an assistant coach for the team, said the boys held their own in the finals, but exhaustion took hold at the end of the game.

"On Friday, one of our players, a left-handed pitcher, broke his arm while pitching, so we only had nine players on Saturday," Shane said.

The team was also playing its fourth game of the day, but managed to stay tied 0-0 until the fourth inning, according to the coach.

The Storm lost a tournament game to the Titletown Tigers from Georgia, 7-3 on Friday, which set them up to have to beat the same team twice on Saturday to make the finals. They recorded 4-2 and 3-2 victories over the Georgia team to advance to the championship game.

The Arkansas Storm also faced another team from Texas, as well as teams from Tennessee and Louisiana. The boys also enjoyed an opening ceremony at Bishop Park in Destin, Fla.

Burris said he enjoyed the pin trading before the opening ceremonies.

"My favorite part was getting to meet all the boys from the other teams," he said. "Meeting other boys my age who love baseball as much as I do was really neat."

Wicker said he was grateful for the experience.

"It was the best time I've ever had in my life," Wicker said. "I thank God, my mom and dad and my coaches."

Kai agreed saying it was the biggest tournament he had ever been in.

"I tried my hardest, and we did very well," he said. "I want to thank my dad for letting me be on this awesome team. It was an experience of a lifetime, and I had a lot of fun."

Coach Cunningham said he was very proud of the players for their effort and successful season, including an overall record of 40-19.

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