LUMBERTON — Donell Ferguson saw his Red Springs AAA team grow up over the span of one night on Sunday as the host team in the Dixie Youth Division II AAA World Series showed resolve in the face of adversity in its elimination game at the Ray Pennington Athletic Complex.
Red Springs found themselves in a big hole late in the game, and even played the final inning without Ferguson in the dugout after he was ejected, but still hung tight with South Carolina, before ultimately being eliminated 5-4 with the winning-run tagged out in a run-down.
“Before the game, I told them that they were going to have adversity and I told them to not drop their heads,” Ferguson said. “I was very proud of every one of them. When we had a little adversity, they kept playing and kept their heads up. I saw them grow from yesterday to today.”
Like in its first game, Red Springs jumped ahead of its opponent first, taking a 1-0 lead after four innings and a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame. South Carolina bolted ahead 5-1 behind a big top of the fifth inning, and still had to fight off Red Springs to stave off elimination.
South Carolina will play at 10:30 a.m. on Field 1 Monday to continue to avoid elimination.
Taniya Ellerbe scored the first Red Springs run in the fourth inning after she reached on a walk, and Stephen Johnson scored in the fifth inning after reaching on a walk and stealing a pair of bases.
Following South Carolina’s rally, Red Springs worked quickly when Steven McCadney was hit by a pitch and scored on the next at-bat when Xzavier Sinclair belted a double to left field. Sinclair scored on a Desire Beauregard RBI single, and on that play, South Carolina put away the game when it tagged Beauregard looking to take second.
“I’d like to thank Lumberton the opportunity to get this chance,” Ferguson said. “All of them take it as a high standard.”
Along with Sinclair and Beauregard’s hits, Rico Conrad and Bryant Hunter also had base knocks in the loss. Sinclair struck out seven South Carolina batters and allowed one hit in his four-plus innings of work.
South Carolina’s Brodie Hickson had a pair of hits and two RBIs in the big sixth-inning rally.
Texas outlasts Virginia to stay undefeated
A late-inning rally helped Texas remain in the winner’s bracket on Sunday as it scored six runs combined in the fifth and sixth innings for a 9-8 win over Virginia.
Texas will play Alabama at 12:45 p.m. on Field 1 Monday in the final game between the two undefeated teams left in the AAA World Series.
The third time through the lineup, the Texas batting order had no trouble against the Virginia pitching staff. Starting with the bottom third of the order both innings, the Texans scored four runs in the fifth inning to go up 7-5, and then stretched their lead to 9-5 heading to Virginia’s final at-bat.
Kevin Johnson and Corbin Edwards had singles in the fifth-inning rally. Hayden Smith had a single and Slade Walker’s triple to score Smith were key factors in the sixth inning.
Virginia did not go down quietly in the bottom of the sixth, with Nick Jordan reaching on a single, Colt Bryant reached on a hit by pitch and scored later in the inning on a Cason Craft single. A groundout to second base ended the contest for Texas.
Virginia also was aided by hits from Kamron Klein, Landon Lewis, Kason McCormick, Ethan Williams and Javaughn Andrews. Texas’ offense was powered by Edwards with two hits, and one hit apiece from Aaron Howard, Reign Wallace and A.J. Morton.
North Carolina pounces on Florida early
With a three-run top of the first inning, North Carolina remained in the World Series with a 4-0 win over Florida in an elimination game on Sunday, with a combined no-hitter by Cam Lewis and Jaxon Wallace.
North Carolina plays the winner of Texas and Alabama on Field 1 at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Jayden Daniels and Nate Early each had a pair of hits in the win, including a double in the first inning from each. Brady Beatini also had a pair of singles, while Colton Mullikin had one hit.
Florida remains the only undefeated “O” Zone squad
Using multiple runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings, Florida stayed undefeated with a 12-0 win over Virginia.
The sunshine state champions will play on Monday at 12:45 p.m. against Alabama on Field 3, while Mississippi takes on Virginia in a win-or-go-home game at 10:30 a.m. on Field 3.
Florida put six runs up in the top of the third inning of the blowout win, and also added three more in each of the fourth and fifth innings.
Leading the Florida bats was Trent Willis with a pair of hits, and Jayden Cornelius, DaMarion Abrams, Markell Baker and Noe Jaramillo each had a hit for Florida as well.
Virginia’s two hits came from Bryant Maddox and K.J. Klein.
Alabama routs Texas “O” Zone
A flurry of runs in the fifth and sixth innings helped Alabama defeated Texas 18-8.
Austyn Miller and Ethan Simmons led all hitters in the game with three hits, and Miller scored three runs as well for Alabama. Kaidin Bedsole and Taylor McCord each had a pair of hits for Alabama that scored nine runs in the fifth inning to go up 13-6. Miller drove in three RBIs in the game.
Texas’ offense posted six runs in the fourth inning, with a pair of hits coming from Kaleb Williams and Bryce Ratley each in the game to lead its offense. Texas’ Trenton Pemberton had a pair of RBIs.
In other “O” Zone action, Mississippi defeated North Carolina 16-0.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.