Local Sports

All-Stars hang tough

- Day two of games at the Dixie Youth AA Machine Pitch World Series got off to a rough start with Alabama taking a 16-6 win over Team Florida in the first game of the day.

Florida’s defense didn’t seem to be on point, although they did hold Alabama scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings.

The shortage of defense paired with a lack of offense was not a good combination for Florida. Chase Sevigny and George Sebring had the best offensive games with both going 2 for 3 at the plate in the loss.

After the first game, each of the teams participated in the skills events that had been cancelled on Friday due to weather.

Competitions were held for throwing accuracy, base running, infield throwing known as around the horn, and a home run derby.

In game two of three on the day, Florida was matched against the host team of the Texarkana All-Stars.

Florida again seemed to come out slow. The defense wasn’t on point and offense was lacking as well. Jayden Garret had the best offensive game going 3 for 3 with two singles and a double and two RBIs.

The two teams seemed to mirror each other, in that each team held the other scoreless in three of the six innings.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Florida was up by two runs and needed to shut down Texarkana to seal the victory.

Florida managed to do so with three batters up and three batters down to register the hard-fought 6-4 win.

Florida had several hours off before the last game of the day and the boys returned to their hotel, ate a light lunch, played some parking lot baseball, and rested up for a bit before heading back to the fields for a 7:30 game that would not get started until just after 8:30 p.m.

Florida played South Carolina, which came into the game with a sparkling 4-0 record and confidence that seemed to bursting at the seams of their pants.

Florida was up to bat first as the visiting team and Clayton Evans singled and came around to score on a base hit for a 1-0 lead.

Florida seemed to wake up in the second inning and started to put the ball in play.

Ezera Jackson smacked a two-run double and Cody Littlefield had an RBI double as the boys in blue went on a tear to score seven runs to take a commanding 8-1 lead.

Florida put three more runs up in the fourth to extend its lead, but South Carolina was able to put two runs on the board in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth inning to pull closer.

Florida went back to work in the sixth inning as Littlefield had a base hit and an RBI to score birthday boy Zain Carmichael who spent his ninth birthday on the baseball field with 11 of his closest friends.

By the bottom of the sixth inning the score was 12-5 in favor of Florida and all they needed was to crank up the defense that this team is known for.

The first South Carolina batter hit a grounder to pitcher, Aiden Wyatt, who fielded the ball cleanly and made the throw to first for the out.

With two outs and two runs in, the last batter stepped into the box. He hit a line drive to center field where Rhett Vaughn made the diving catch for the last out of the inning to seal the 12-7 win.

Florida played Mississippi in its last pool game on Sunday. Results were not available at press time. Be sure to read Tuesday’s Highlands Today for the complete story and photos.

Bracket play is up next with only the top two teams from each pool making it into the semifinals.