LUMBERTON — Rain started falling late on Sunday, just like it had done off and on all afternoon at the Ray Pennington Athletic Complex, after Florida handed Lumberton a 16-8 loss in the Coach Pitch consolation bracket third-place game, giving a sour end to the tournament for the host team.
As the host team’s players began to disburse from the dugout, the coaching staff made sure to let every mud-soaked player they appreciated their play and commitment over the summer that led up to four losses in the Dixie Youth Coach Pitch World Series.
“I think they had a good time and I feel like it was a different experience,” Lumberton Coach Pitch coach Jorge Reyes said. “It’s a different platform, but I think they learned something from it.”
It wasn’t the result that Reyes’ team wanted from the tournament, but the exposure on the national stage is something that he doesn’t want his players to forget.
“Hopefully they will come back next season and we will try to make it back to the World Series next year,” Reyes said.
Against the Florida state champs in the final game, Lumberton jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, before surrendering 13 unanswered runs.
Jayden Graham plated a run with a double in the first inning and Kayden Daniels scored two with his double down the left field line in the second inning to build the lead. That lead held until the top of the fourth when Florida scored two runs to go up 4-3.
Then the big inning happened.
Florida scored nine runs in the top of the fifth inning to lead 13-3, with Lumberton needing runs to force the game into the final inning. Those runs came and three more came in the bottom of the sixth as Josiah Britt had an RBI single.
“In the Florida game, overall we hit the ball pretty decent,” Reyes said. “We tried to make the comeback, but we just fell short in the end. I felt like we had a chance the whole game, we just gave up that one bad inning.”
Mississippi handed the hosts a 14-3 loss earlier in the day.
Graham led the Lumberton bats in the opener with a pair of singles. Jordan Blackmon, Anthony Weindel and Bryce Thompson each had a hit.
“This morning we played a tough Mississippi team that hit the ball good,” Reyes said. “We weren’t able to hit the ball well either.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.