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BLUFFTON, S.C.— Brunswick County won its first game but lost its next two and was eliminated Monday night from the Junior Dixie Boys Baseball World Series.
Representing North Carolina in the national tournament for 13-year-olds, Brunswick County opened the World Series by routing Arkansas 16-4 in 90-degree heat Saturday afternoon at Oscar J. Frazier Park.
Starter Tyler Lewis gave up two hits and one run in three innings. He struck out two and walked no one. A.J. Jones gave up three hits and three runs in the final two innings. He struck out one and walked no one.
“Tyler did a tremendous job,” assistant coach L.C. Pigott said. “A.J. came in in relief and also did a tremendous job.”
Brunswick scored a run in the top of the first on a one-out single to right field by Hunter Howard. He drove in leadoff batter Markel Jones, who had doubled and stole third. Brunswick had the bases loaded with one out but was unable to score any more runs.
“We were a little hesitant coming out, a little tentative, because of the layoff from the last tournament” Pigott said. “We weren’t hitting the ball well.”
That would not be a problem the rest of the game, as Brunswick scored 15 runs.
“We started capitalizing on their errors and we started hitting the baseball,” Pigott said.
With the score 1-1 in the top of the third, Brunswick took advantage of Arkansas mistakes to take a 6- 1 lead. Caleb Morrison led off with a bunt and stole second. With one out, A.J. Jones singled, and Brunswick soon had runners on third and second. A run scored on a passed ball and another scored on a dropped third strike.
An error on a ball hit by Willie McRae led to another run, and a groundout by Lewis increased the lead to 5-1. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, and the final run of the inning scored when Morrison was hit by a pitch.
“We were doing all the fundamental things,” Pigott said.
In the fourth, the Brunswick lead grew to 14-1. Three straight errors put Brunswick ahead 8-1. After a single by Lewis, Tatum and Ricky LaChance each drove in a run. With the lead 12-1, the final two runs scored on single by A.J. Jones and a double by Geoffrey Stevens.
Arkansas scored twice in the fourth. In the fifth, singles by Markel Jones and Howard scored Brunswick’s final runs. Arkansas scored its final run in the fifth.
Defensively, catcher Howard threw out a runner in the second inning when the score was 1-1. Center fielder Markel Jones doubled off a runner at second base for the final out in the third inning. And Tyler Lewis, playing third base, got the final out of the fourth inning when he snared a line drive.
“It was a great victory for us,” Pigott said.
The victory advanced Brunswick to a game Sunday night against Mississippi, but Mississippi won 12-2. Mississippi scored it first seven runs with two outs, and four more came on a grand slam in the fifth inning.
In a loser-out game Monday night, Brunswick lost 5-2 to South Carolina.
MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.