Lunenburg Minors are district runners-up

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Dixie Youth District 5 Minor League All-Star Tournament in Victoria came to an end July 13 as the Lunenburg County Youth Baseball League All-Stars lost 17-7 in five innings to the Dinwiddie National All-Stars in the tournament championship series.

The score may have signaled a blowout, but it was evidence of growth for Lunenburg, which had lost 24-2 to Dinwiddie National on July 11.

Lunenburg rebounded on July 12 with a 2-0 elimination game victory over the Charlotte County All-Stars and then showed enhanced competitiveness against Dinwiddie National.

“The score doesn’t reflect how well we played,” Lunenburg Manager Carl Ashworth said. “I’m real proud of the way we come back from that (24-2) loss and stood another day and worked (Dinwiddie National) and made them have to work hard to win the game.”

The game was tied 1-1 after the first inning. Dinwiddie broke the game open with eight runs in the bottom of the second, but Lunenburg did not lie down, responding with three runs in the third.

When Dinwiddie added five more runs and appeared headed to a mercy rule-shortened win in four innings, Lunenburg added three more runs in the top of the fourth to extend the game, making the score 14-7.

Dinwiddie added only two runs in the bottom half of the inning but held Lunenburg scoreless in the fifth and then added one run to invoke the mercy rule.

To help his team perform better, Ashworth and his coaching staff studied Lunenburg’s first meeting with Dinwiddie National and the close game that the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association All-Stars had played against Dinwiddie on July 12.

“The harder the pitches we threw, the harder they hit the ball,” Ashworth said. “We watched Prince Edward last night pitch the slowest pitcher they had.”

So Lunenburg had Jordan Jackson, Mekhi Reese, Conner Mattox and Hunter Word use slow pitches, “and that’s what kept us in the game,” Ashworth said. “If it had worked a little better, we would have been in this game at the end. But that shows you, even at this level, strategy works.”

Lunenburg hit the ball better, as well, led by Seth Bishop, who had three hits, four runs batted in and one run scored. Also leading the team were Maki Tucker, who had two hits and one RBI, Trey Inman, who had two hits and two runs scored, and Jackson, who had two hits and one run scored.

Immediately following the 24-2 loss on July 11, Lunenburg showed its quality in the victory against Charlotte County.

“They were able to put everything together, and that was such a magnificent pitching performance by Ryan Allard,” Ashworth said.

Allard threw 14 strikeouts, meaning the defense needed only to produce four outs for the entire game. He threw 92 pitches, 69 of which were strikes.

Lunenburg finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.

Reflecting on his squad of players, Ashworth said, “I’m the one that’s blessed to have them. What a team to get in your first time around. What a team.”