LUMBERTON — The Lumberton Machine Pitch team’s stint as a host team in the Dixie Youth World Series came to an end with a fourth-place finish in the consolation bracket on Sunday, but the smiles on the faces of coach Sammy Shackelford’s players suggested that they had just won a championship.
After working through a rain-soaked afternoon at the Ray Pennington Athletic Complex, the team ran out to the outfield wall at one of the facility’s six fields and collected its host team flag that had been hanging there since the Dixie Youth Machine Pitch World Series began on Friday.
The players then ran back to the diamond proudly displaying their flag for their families to see.
“That was a really good feeling,” Shackelford said. “They had a good time, and it was a good experience for them.”
Lumberton went winless in four games over its two-day stay at the World Series. The runner-up in the city’s Coach Pitch tournament, Lumberton had a chance to return to that format for their final game of the tournament when rain caused the postponement of Machine Pitch games.
“That wasn’t too big of an adjustment,” Shackelford said. “Not too long ago we had a scrimmage game that was Coach Pitch. Everything was good. We were ready for that.”
That final game ended with an 11-0 loss to Arkansas. Jace Wilson, Landon Waters, Dalton Tyner, Tristan Willoughby and Zack Milstead each collected hits for Lumberton. Tyner led the way with two hits.
Arkansas had eight different players score in the game. Blake Green, Cayden Curtis and Eli Seger each scored two runs.
In Lumberton’s first game of the day, a 14-0 loss to North Carolina, the team got two hits apiece from Tyner, Wilson, Channing Carter, Brayden Patterson and Mac Strickland.
North Carolina benefited from widespread offensive production, as the team had 10 players cross the plate. Landon Albright scored three runs while going 3-for-4.
Shackelford said he hopes his team’s experience at the World Series will help them prepare for future tournaments.
“This is a big stage we played on,” Shackelford said. “It will help them going forward. With the long period we had of practicing and getting ready, they’re ahead of pace for next year.”
Arkansas lost to Alabama 7-4 earlier in the day. Alabama was scheduled to play North Carolina for the consolation bracket championship, but the afternoon downpour that stalled the tournament’s operations for several hours caused the game to be rescheduled.
Louisiana beat Texas 3-1, but the rest of the first-round games in the eight-team Machine Pitch tournament were postponed to Monday.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.