LUMBERTON — Despite facing an early five-run deficit after a long day during pool play of the Dixie Youth Coach Pitch World Series, host Lumberton refused to go down quietly in its second game.
After taking a loss to Arkansas earlier in the day, and then watching Louisiana dish out a defeat to Arkansas, Lumberton kept fighting in the middle innings of its game. Even though it hung tight with the state champions, late runs and miscues cost Lumberton in a 25-13 loss to cap off pool play.
“Of course, (in the second game) we played a lot better and scored 13 runs,” said Jorge Reyes, Lumberton Coach Pitch coach. “In a game like this, if we score 13 runs, we should win, but we gave up a lot of runs.
”I believe our kids have the fight in them. I’m still glad our kids got an opportunity to get out here and play.”
With an 0-2 mark in pool play, the hosts are moved to the consolation bracket, starting with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday against Mississippi.
“We come back tomorrow, and I know it’s not for the main tournament, but should be able to win both of those games,” Reyes said. “That would be a good way to finish on a good note for next year.”
Against Louisiana, Lumberton fell behind 5-0 after 1 1/2 innings before cutting into the lead with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Fueling the scoring outburst was singles from Josiah Britt, Jayden Graham, Kayden Daniels, Adam Baxley and Julius Goolsby, making the score 5-4.
Louisiana responded with three runs in the third innings and 10 runs in the fourth, but Lumberton hung tight with eight runs during that span. Facing the possibility of ending its second game by mercy rule — after a 15-3 loss to Arkansas in four innings — in the fourth inning to Louisiana, Lumberton scored five runs, with most of the offense being generated by the bottom of the order once again, and cut the score to 18-12.
In the second loss of the day, Graham, Britt, Daniels and Baxley each had a trio of hits to lead the way for the Lumberton offense.
“Everybody hit the ball well in the second game,” Reyes said. “We struggled with the top of our lineup in the first game, but the bottom of the lineup hit the ball decently.”
Against Arkansas, Lumberton generated five hits total. Those base knocks came from Graham, Daniels, Baxley, Bryce Thompson and Talen Covington. The Arkansas state champs jumped on Lumberton early in the morning game with seven runs in the first inning, while Lumberton went the first two innings without reaching base via a hit.
“I don’t know what it is about our guys and morning games,” Reyes said. “We gave up a lot of errors. We can’t give up 20 runs, we can’t give up 18 runs and expect to be in the ballgame.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.