Wins in the first two rounds of the 14th Annual Virginia Dixie Youth Baseball O-Zone State Tournament at the Day Complex in South Boston have put Halifax County American solidly in the chase for the tournament title.

Halifax County American got off to a big start in both rounds in topping Bedford Central 6-1 in Friday night’s opener and moving past Rustburg 5-1 in Saturday night’s winner’s bracket game.

The two wins set up a contest between Halifax County American and Patrick County, the two remaining unbeaten teams, in Sunday night’s nightcap.

Halifax County American had eight hits in Friday’s opening game against Bedford Central, with Lukas Newton leading the team with a 3-3 effort at the plate. Mason Rush, Logan Smith, Logan Clark, Eli Seamster and Paul Irby all had a hit each.

Halifax County American hurlers Smith, Newton and Clark combined to hold Bedford Central to just one hit and three walks in the game while combining for 11 strikeouts. Smith had three of the strikeouts, Newton had five and Clark fanned three batters.

Offensively, Halifax County American scored in four of the six innings, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Rush opened with a double, moved to third base on a hit from Newton, and both later scored when Smith reached base on a Bedford Central error.

Bedford Central scratched up a run in the bottom of the inning, but Halifax County American closed the door after that, combining good pitching and good defense to hold Bedford Central scoreless the rest of the way.

Leading 2-1, Halifax picked up a run in the third inning on a run-scoring triple from Newton, added a run in the fifth inning when Seamster hit a double and later scored, and added two more runs in the final inning to seal the win.

Halifax County American had six hits in Saturday night’s 5-1 victory over Rustburg, with Newton and Clark getting two hits each and Smith and C.J. Farley both getting a hit each.

Smith and Newton had a solid night on the mound for Halifax County American, combining efforts to hold Rustburg to one hit and one earned run. In a 3.1-inning stint to open the game, Smith fanned seven batters and allowed one walk, one hit and one earned run. Newton took over for the final 2.2 innings and allowed no hits and no walks.

Saturday’s game mirrored the one on Friday for Halifax County American as it jumped on top with two runs in the top of the first inning and never lost the lead.

A hit by Smith gave Halifax County American its first run in the first inning and a Rustburg error allowed Clark, who had reached base on an error, to score and give his team a 2-0 lead.

Two more runs in the top of the fourth inning gave Halifax County American a 4-0 lead, with a run-scoring double from Clark driving in a run, and Clark scoring the second run on a wild pitch.

Rustburg scratched up a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to make the score 4-1, but Halifax County American responded with a run in the top of the fifth inning when Paul Irby scored to make the eventual 5-1 final score.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com