CLOVER — The Red Sox held off a gritty effort by the Orioles to win Monday’s Clover Parks and Recreation Department’s O Zone Tournament Championship game, 4-2.
In a close game at Clover Community Park, the Red Sox won its third consecutive tournament title.
After the Orioles were held scoreless in the top of the first inning, the Red Sox scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to grab the early lead.
Jayden Carpenter got things started when he made it to first on a throwing error and advanced to third before the Orioles could recover.
Nigel Choate laid down a bunt that sent Carpenter across the plate with the game’s first run.
Seth Moore lifted a fly ball to right field that the Orioles couldn’t catch up with, allowing Choate to score again.
Later in the inning, it appeared the Red Sox would score another run, but Orioles catcher Waylon Root held his position at the plate and made the tag.
But the Red Sox weren’t through. With two outs and the bases loaded, Devin Lingerfelt stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single, staking the Red Sox to a 3-0 lead.
The Orioles pushed two runs across the plate, slicing the Red Sox lead to a single run. Wyatt Cody started the rally by drawing a walk. With one out, Root ripped a double down the right-field line to score Cody.
Tanner Lambert’s ground ball then sent Root across the plate with run number two for the Orioles.
The Red Sox added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by Choate’s solid double. Later, Choate reached third-base and scored on a passed ball as the Red Sox led 4-2.
The Orioles threatened to score in the top of the fifth, with runners at second and third, but Choate recorded a crucial strikeout with the game on the line.
Red Sox head coach Britt Bufford praised the players for holding off the Orioles to win the postseason tournament for the third time in as many years.
“We had eight players returning from last year’s team,” Bufford said. “Only four players return next year. We will have a young team next season.”
Bufford said this year’s team responded to the challenge when the situation called for it. “We have a great group of kids,” he said.
Bufford said he wasn’t surprised the Orioles extended the Sox to the limit in the title game.
“They played us a two-run game today and a one-run game the last time we played them in the regular season,” said Bufford. “Coach Russell does a fantastic job.”
Bufford thanked parents of the players for their support during the season. “I want to thank the Clover Parks and Recreation Department for their efforts in organizing a great tournament,” said Bufford.
Orioles head coach Ronald Russell was gracious in defeat.
“It was a good game,” said Russell. “We made some errors in the first inning and got behind, but the kids fought back in a closely played game that could’ve gone either way.”
Russell singled out Root for his work behind the plate and at bat. “Waylon had solid play behind the plate and an RBI double,” said Russell. “He put the tag on a kid attempting to steal home.”
“They are a good team with solid pitching,” Russell said of the Red Sox. “We played them close the last two games, including today. I am proud of our kids.”