Among the very best

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Every summer, Dixie Youth Baseball and Dixie Softball bring excitement to the area. With Farmville Newsmedia, LLC, I have given coverage to all-star teams that hail from Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Prince Edward and Lunenburg counties.

My two years of coverage experience entering this summer have aided in my developing certain expectations for how things will likely go. Those expectations were upended this summer.

I have gotten used to seeing teams from the area winning district or state tournaments. Once they reach the state level, their success starts to become particularly impressive because they usually are playing all-star teams that were formed from larger leagues, meaning those teams had a larger pool of talent to draw from.

This contrast in league size becomes exponentially greater when area teams manage to advance to the World Series and face champions from other states. This is one of the reasons why it is particularly difficult for most area teams to advance far at the World Series.

But this year, a couple area teams did advance far, and one of them was the Lunenburg County Machine Pitch All-Star team.

It was clear that the team was special after the community saw it go 10-0 across the district and state tournaments, but they took things to a whole new level in the World Series. Those 7- and 8-year-old boys from Lunenburg showed they formed a team that was truly among the very best in all of Dixie Youth Baseball at the Machine Pitch level.

Representing Virginia at the 2018 Dixie Youth Baseball AA Machine Pitch World Series in Lumberton, North Carolina, the Lunenburg All-Stars went 3-3.

“We ended up finishing third out of the 12 teams, and our league is by far the smallest out of any of the ones there,” Lunenburg Manager Brian Nowlin said, estimating that the other all-star teams were selected from leagues that featured 12 to 20 teams, while the LCYBL had only four.

The tournament started with pool play, and the best teams there advanced to a double- elimination championship round. In the first of two pool play games, Lunenburg experienced its first loss of the summer, falling 8-7 to Tennessee. The boys responded later that day by recovering to defeat the host team, Lumberton, 13-3, advancing them to the championship round.

After a day off due to rain, the LCYBL All- Stars reached the brink of elimination when they lost to South Carolina. But later that same day, Lunenburg showed its toughness and adaptability. It rebounded to eliminate Texas with a 5-0 win and then avenged its first loss by eliminating Tennessee with an 11-5 victory.

Finally, the LCYBL boys played the only undefeated team left in the tourney, Florida, and though they lost, it was by a mere 1-0 score. “(Florida) hadn’t scored less than 11 runs against anyone until they played us,” Nowlin said. I paid close attention to the championship showdown, which ended up being between undefeated Florida and one-loss South Carolina. South Carolina came back to narrowly win the first game and hand Florida its first defeat, but Florida won the second game to win the World Series.

The boys from Lunenburg County truly hung with the best in Dixie Youth Baseball at the Machine Pitch level. We congratulate them on their success, thank them for their strong representation of the county and the state and excitedly await what they’ll do in the future on the diamond.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus. Mohler@KVDispatch. com.