LUMBERTON — For Lumberton Majors coach Butch Campbell, the final score of his team’s 10-1 loss in an elimination game against Virginia on Monday didn’t do justice to the overall improvement of his players.
“Our guys, as far as the tournament goes, have been successful all the way around,” Campbell said. “We’ve come a long ways. We’ve got some kids that couldn’t normally hit the ball really good and now we hit the ball one through 12. My kids have learned a lot as well as my coaches and myself. “
Lumberton ended their stint as a host team at the tournament with a record of 1-2. After losing to Georgia 16-4 in the first round on Saturday, Lumberton defeated Texas 8-2 in loser’s bracket play on Sunday to set up its matchup with Virginia.
“We were very fortunate in winning yesterday,” Campbell said. “Texas is a really good ballclub. Virginia is state champions, and I can see why they are state champions. They’re good offensively and defensively. Most importantly, their sportsmanship is wonderful. Great ballclub.”
After Rocco Raynor notched a leadoff single in the first inning for Virginia, Justin Gunter gave the team an early lead with a two-run homer in the next at-bat.
That hit spearheaded a six-run inning for Virginia. After an RBI single by Nick Allen and a bases-loaded walk drawn by Wyatt Bickford, a wild pitch allowed Virginia’s sixth run to score.
Lumberton’s offense couldn’t capitalize on a one-out double by Tra’von Moore in the top of the second inning, and Raynor increased the host team’s deficit with a solo home run in the bottom of the frame.
Chatler Maynor put Lumberton on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Bubba Garceau, Cam Newton and Allen crossed the plate for Virginia in the fifth inning to get the team to the 10-run mark.
“They’re good ballplayers, and there’s always room for improvement,” Campbell said of his team. “I think my guys will continue to press. I think all 12 of my guys will continue into high school. I hope they don’t stop here. I think my guys are good enough and driven enough to play at the high school level.”
Campbell said the majority of his players will be returning in the fall and spring.
“We’re going to work with them and we’re going to continue to keep in touch with these guys, and we’ll see what happens in the fall and springtime,” Campbell said. “We’ll go from there.”
Lumberton Majors stay alive in Sunday loser’s bracket action
On Sunday, a morning pep talk was all it took for the Lumberton Majors team to find its rhythm and get its first win of the tournament.
Hours before the team was scheduled to take on Texas in the first round of loser’s bracket play, coach Butch Campbell had a heart-to-heart conversation with his team.
“I think our guys had the first day jitters yesterday (Saturday),” Campbell said. “We went to church this morning and had a good little service, and I had a chance to speak with them and get those jitters out.
“I gave them a good pep talk this morning and I told them this is what we use our whole summers for. We practiced the whole summer to win. We didn’t want Texas to come all this way and beat us in our own yard.”
Lumberton went on to defeat Texas 8-2 after a 16-4 loss to Georgia on Saturday pushed the host team to the brink of elimination.
Lumberton registered a combined seven hits against three Texas pitchers. Tashuan Stocks finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, Carson Phillips went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Daniel McLean notched an RBI single in his only appearance at the plate for Lumberton.
“We were a little more aggressive with the bats and a little more aggressive on the bases,” Campbell said.
Kaden Revels, Chatler Maynor and Stocks threw a combined three-hitter for Lumberton.
“We did really good on the mound. I still saved my pitching,” Campbell said. “I used two of my really good pitchers this morning, but I didn’t exceed their pitch count so I’ll be able to bring them back again tomorrow.”
An RBI single by Dallas Whiteside gave Texas the first run of the game in the first inning. Stocks evened the score by coming home with the help of a throwing error in the bottom of the inning.
Lumberton took the lead with an RBI single by McLean in the second inning. Stocks hit an RBI double in the third to increase the host team’s lead to 3-1, and he came home later in the inning after a passed ball and throwing error on the same play costed Texas two runs. Lumberton added another run on an error to cap off its third-inning rally with a 6-1 lead.
Revels scored on a passed ball and Phillips notched an RBI single in the fifth inning to push Lumberton’s lead to 8-1.
Keden Dixon scored Texas’ second and final run in the sixth inning.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.