YORK — The Longhorns withstood a challenge from Southern Heat in last week’s Dixie Boys’ Tournament championship game, prevailing 12-8 at Optimist Park.
Southern Heat sliced the lead to single run (8-7) in the top of the fourth inning in the June 12 game. But the Longhorns pulled away down the stretch to finish the season with an unbeaten slate.
“I am proud of our players for an outstanding season,” said head coach Chris Stephenson. “It’s difficult to go undefeated on any level of play.”
Southern Heat showed it meant business, pushing across four runs in the top of the first inning.
Coby Van Camp hit a ground ball with the bases loaded, sending teammate Shandon Cobb across the plate with the game’s first run. Ryan Ennis and Mitchell Pike scored on wild pitches and Southern Heat plated another run before the side was retired.
The Longhorns rebounded in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at 4-4. Harrison Childers highlighted the inning with an inside-the-park home run. Will McSwain closed out the scoring when he crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
The Longhorns assumed a 5-4 lead in the second inning when Javion Matthews single home Blake Adams.
The Longhorns added to the lead in the third inning on Matthews’ run-scoring double, scoring Adams.
Southern Heat got back in the game in the fourth inning, with Cobb delivering a double and Ennis a single. Thomas Caldwell scored the final run of the inning and the Longhorn lead was 8-7.
Peyton Stephenson scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning, making the score 9-7.
The Longhorns expanded the lead to 12-7 in the fifth inning, highlighted by Stephenson’s two-run double.
Southern Heat added a run in the sixth inning when Cobb slid safely at home after an attempted pickoff at second ended up in the outfield.
Southern Heat head coach Chris Pike lauded the players for extending the Longhorns to the limit in the tournament championship game.
“I am proud of our players for their performance throughout the season,” Pike said. “They played well against the Longhorns in the championship game. They are a good group of kids to coach, finishing with an 8-4 record.”