A spectacular run in the Dixie Youth Baseball Coach Pitch World Series ended just short of a title for the Halifax County Coach Pitch all-stars after a 4-0 loss to South Carolina on Tuesday.
Halifax County had defeated Jones County, Mississippi 4-1 earlier Tuesday to reach the championship game but fell short against South Carolina despite banging out 10 hits, two each from West Shotwell, James Horne and Jeremiah Thomas and one hit apiece from Camden Saunders, Camden Brooks, Connor Long and Maddox Milam.
Halifax County also finished with 10 hits in the 4-1 win over Jones County, Mississippi, the team which had defeated them in pool play and bracket play earlier in the tournament.
A runner-up finish in the Coach Pitch World Series will not soon be forgotten, according to several players.
Camden Brooks said he had a good time and thought his team played well, adding it was the biggest accomplishment he’s ever had in his athletic career thus far.
“I felt the team as a whole did well,” said Brooks.
Levi Torian agreed with Brooks.
“It was a good experience and really fun, and I felt we did really well against those tough teams,” said Torian.
“I was happy for my team. I learned never to give up and always rely on my teammates,” noted Torian, who plans to take a little break before returning to school.
Christian Whitehead thought his experience at the world experience was everything he thought it would be.
“The competition was fun, and everyone played as a team. We never gave up, and our team stayed in the game,” said Whitehead.
“It taught us never to give up,” he added.
James Horne echoed the thoughts of his teammates.
“The teams were better in Mississippi, and it was tougher competition,” said Horne.
“It only makes you better to have tougher competition. I feel the team did pretty good against them, and we supported one another.”
“We did pretty great,” noted Horne, adding the experience definitely helped him in reaching his goals as a ball player.
“The kids did really good and were excited to be among a core of good players,” said coach Shawn Torian.
“They were athletic and fundamentally sound in baseball. The one thing about our kids was that they fed off each other. One wanted to outdo the other, rather it be offensively or defensively.
“We had several games where we had multiple hits back-to-back, and I think it all comes back to our kids’ drive to get better.
“They’re at that age where they feed off each other,” added Torian. “When you have multiple hits back-to-back, you’re going to score runs.
“One time, if I’m not mistaken, we had six or seven hits in a row, and we scored runs against some really good teams.”
The proudest moment was when Halifax beat the host team (Jones County, Mississippi), which had beaten them twice, in pool play and bracket play, according to Torian.
“To come out and beat them, I thought was the highlight of our World Series trip,” he said.
“We put some hits together and have some really good defensive plays as well,” added Torian.
Coach Justin Saunders described the team as one with “small town kids who have big hearts.”
“I’d like to thank the whole community for their support during our boys’ run in the world series,” said Saunders.
“They battled back and beat Mississippi after losing to them in pool play and bracket play. They made it further than any Virginia team has ever made it at any age level. That in itself is something that I am proud of.”
Halifax County upheld the tradition of excellence among its Dixie Youth and Dixie baseball all-star teams, which have won numerous district and state titles over the past decades.
“The support that these boys have received from our small town shows that we are a proud community, and we stand behind our kids,” noted Saunders.
“Even though we fell one game short, we can hold our heads high. These boys are a special group.”