YORK — The York Parks and Recreation Department’s Dixie Boys 14-year-old All-Star team has made splash in the rain-delayed district tourney, rotating from Lancaster to Indian Land, depending on which fields were less saturated.
The York all-stars’ first loss in the double-elimination tournament was Monday, when Kershaw County prevailed 6-4 after a four-hour rain delay at Indian Land. The teams battled to a scoreless deadlock until the Kershaw all-stars pushed across four runs in the bottom of the third inning.
York finally got something going offensively in the top of the fourth when Ryan Ennis led off with a single. With one out in the inning, Peyton Stephenson drew a walk. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Ennis scored York’s first run on a balk.
Kershaw expanded the lead to 6-1 in the top of the fifth, highlighted by a triple and a well-executed suicide bunt squeeze.
York added a run in the sixth inning, with Dallas Honeycutt delivering a lead-off single. Tucker Stephenson drew a walk, leaving runners at first and second.
Honeycutt advanced to third on a force out and scored when the umpire ruled a balk.
With Kershaw leading 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the York all-stars didn’t go down without a fight.
Caleb Clayton was hit by a pitch. The next batter was Ennis, who lined a triple that rolled to the right center-field fence, scoring Clayton.
Dangerous-hitting Will McSwain was hit by a pitch. Later, with runners at second and third, Honeycutt’s groundball RBI sent Ennis across the plate, slicing the lead to two at 6-4.
But the final-inning rally fell short as Kershaw held on for the win.
“We needed to put more hits together,” York head coach Chris Stephenson said after Monday’s game.
“A real key tomorrow night is for our kids to be mentally ready to play against Lancaster,” said Stephenson.
The York stars were ready to play Lancaster Sunday night, winning 6-5 on Lancaster’s home turf.
“Our kids fought from behind,” said Stephenson. “It was a big win for us. Will McSwain did a great job in a relief role.”
The Lancaster stars assumed control of the proceedings in the first inning, plating three runs. Lancaster added an insurance run in the bottom of the third for a 4-0 lead.
York had a productive fourth inning, knotting the score at 4-all after two outs.
Honeycutt, Matt Newton and Tucker Stephenson drew walks to load the bases. Jaevion Matthews walked, sending Honeycutt across the plate with York’s first run.
Later, with the bases loaded, Ennis hit a groundball to the Lancaster shortstop, whose throw to first missed the mark, sending two York runs across the plate.
Matthews scored the tying run on wild pitch and the York team was back in it.
Lancaster regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a double and run-scoring single.
The Lancaster stars held on to a 5-4 lead until York mounted another rally in the top of the seventh.
Ennis singled sharply to open the inning.
After Ennis advanced to second on a wild pitch, he took third when nobody covered the bag and scored the tying run on Clayton’s ground ball.
Later in the inning, with the game on the line, Peyton Stephenson reached on an infield single between first and second.
In an effort to take away Stephenson’s infield hit, the Lancaster second baseman’s off-balance throw landed in the dugout, sending Shandon Cobb across the plate with the go-ahead run.
With York clinging to a 6-5 lead, it was up to McSwain to seal the deal and the reliable hurler did just that with a live fastball and nasty breaking pitches.
The York All-Stars were slated to battle Lancaster at 5 p.m. Tuesday, with the winner to advance to the tournament title game at 7 p.m. against Kershaw.
Tuesday’s tournament was played after the Enquirer-Herald deadline; results will appear in next week’s Enquirer-Herald.