LUMBERTON — The South Carolina AAA team got two victories in a matter of 10 minutes on Wednesday night.
After downing Florida 13-3 in four innings to keep their hopes at a Dixie Youth World Series title alive, and hand Florida its first loss of the tournament, team manager Matt Hornsby won the coin toss to give his team the bye into the championship game that will be at 6 p.m., on Thursday at the Ray Pennington Athletic Complex.
“It’s big. We don’t have to play an extra game or use of some of our pitching,” he said. “We can sit back and wait on the team. It’s big.”
South Carolina will get the winner of North Carolina and Florida that meet at 10 a.m.
Coming into Wednesday night’s game, Florida had surrendered one run in its first three games, but South Carolina’s aggressive mindset at the plate burnt the Florida arms and defense.
“The guys just came out hitting the ball, we didn’t swing at bat pitches and we hit the ball with runners in scoring position with big hits,” Hornsby said. “That’s what it takes. That was a good ball team so to beat them you have to do the small things to win ballgames.”
In each of the four innings, South Carolina posted runs, with 11 coming in the final two innings.
Florida plated two runs to take a 2-1 lead on a Koltyn Furtado single in the top of the second inning. South Carolina pulled a double steal with runners on the corners to perfection to tie the game at two in the bottom half of the inning.
In the third inning, Florida jumped ahead 3-2 with a Tyler Turner RBI double, and once again South Carolina responded with a bases-clearing triple by Keaton Bennett to go up 5-3. Bennett scored on an error to make it 6-3, and the lead stretched to four runs in the next at-bat as Jacson Barrineau hit an RBI double.
Lead-off hitter Brice Gillette went 4-for-4 at the plate for South Carolina. Jacob Kelly and M.J. Hornsby also had two hits for South Carolina.
Florida’s Furtado, Luis Quintana and Tyler Turner each had a hit in the loss.
In the elimination game, North Carolina breezed by Louisiana 10-1 to earn a spot in Tuesday’s championship.
North Carolina took advantage of Louisiana’s miscues and five hits to jump ahead early 4-0 after two innings and then plate six runs in the fifth inning to claim the win.
Fisher Goodwin had a pair of hits for the champions from the Tar Heel State, andthe other three hits came from Hayden Roberts, Michael Peterson and Jordan Stegall. Goodwin and Jonah Campbell had RBIs in the fifth-inning rally.
Will Jones earned the pitching victory after tossing five innings and allowing one run, two hits and struck out five batters.
The two Louisiana hits came from Hudson Wod and Tyler Roach.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.