There is just one hurdle left for two Columbia County teams to clear.
The 12U softball All-Stars team won the Dixie Softball State Tournament Ponytails Division on July 14 in Milledge, Ga. with a 4-3 win over Baldwin County while going 4-0 in the process. They’ll vie for the 2013 Dixie Softball World Series title in Bluffton, S.C. from July 27 to July 31. They begin World Series play facing Louisiana with a potential second-round matchup against the winner of Arkansas and Texas. The game against Louisiana at 3:30 p.m. can be seen online at www.bcgov.net.
The Dixie Boys 13-14 baseball All-Stars went unscathed in winning their state championship in Covington, Ga. and will play in the 2013 Dixie Boys Baseball World Series from August 3 to August 7. They will face Virginia in the opening game with a potential game against the Texas-Mississippi
Softball head coach Derrick Flanigan thought the key to his team winning the title was simple.
“Just by good defense and getting hits at the right time,” Flanigan said.
Nowhere was that more the case than in the first game of the tournament against Baldwin County, which jumped out to a to a 4-1 lead in the first inning. The All-Stars rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth inning to win 5-4. Josie Ruiz and Macie Widener each had a hit and scored a run while Beth Romanowski, Raegin Flanigan and Kaylea Titus pitched two innings apiece.
“It was awesome really,” said Derrick Flanigan of the rally. “It gave us a bunch of momentum going into the bottom of the last inning. Going into the next day the girls were pumped up and excited.”
The All-Stars beat Crawford County 19-0 in four innings in their next game. Widener, Titus, Raegin Flanigan, Lauren Luke, and Aiden Cox reached base four times with Macy Ellis and Carter Culverhouse reaching three times apiece. Romanowski picked up the win with her two innings of work on the mound while Raegin Flanigan finished up, each striking out five.
An eight-run fourth inning propelled the All Stars past Marion County 12-5 and into the tournament final once again facing Baldwin County.
They held a 4-2 lead into the final inning and were able to hold on for the 4-3 final. Romanowski, Raegin Flanigan and Titus each pitched two innings with Flanigan hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to give the All-Stars their cushion.
The 13-14 baseball All-Stars dominated the field en route to the state title. In five games they scored 82 runs while allowing just five.
Coach Adrian McCladdie called pitcher Daniel Wiggins (2-0) his go-to guy. Wiggins proved that during their 10-0 win over Newton County as he pitched five innings of a combined no-hitter with Ty Snipes finishing the final two innings.
The top hitters were Chris Woodward who belted two home runs including a grand slam while Jacob Hardin and Justen Hartfield each added home runs during the week.
The majority of the squad – eight of 13 – were on the same team that made a Dixie World Series appearance two years ago and McCladdie thinks that is a point in their favor.
“It was the same thing as two years ago at state, we pretty much dominated,” said McCladdie. “It really didn’t prepare us when we got to the World Series in Madison Heights, Va. So we didn’t know what to expect.
“But now, we dominated state and we know going in this year we’re going to see the competition we saw when we were 12. They’re all prepared, they’re all humbled by it and they’re just excited to get there and give it another shot. My kids are bigger and stronger and they’re smarter. I’ve got 13 guys and all 13 can play, and that’s rare.”