According to Sampson County All-Stars 10 and under coach Clark Honeycutt, his team, composed of younger players, was able to beat out Raleigh Capitals and North Johnston; however, they fell to Wendell Blue and eventually North Johnston, which eliminated the Sampson County All-Stars from the double-elimination tournament Sunday.
According to Honeycutt, the tournament started with a bye after they were randomly chosen by SWAC officials to progress to the next level of the tournament without playing.
The Sampson County All-Stars met up with Raleigh Capitals Friday after the Capitals defeated Wendell Blue.
Honeycutt reported that the Sampson County All-Stars swept Raleigh Capitals with an 11-7 defeat.
The winning pitchers for the Sampson County All-Stars, in all games, were Adam Butler, Dustin Holland and Skyler Thornton.
“The pitchers basically played two innings every game,” Honeycutt explained of the pitching lineup. “Skyler (Thornton) pitched every inning of the last game, which was five innings.”
As for leading hitters, Honeycutt revealed, “We hit the ball as a team. The very first game against Raleigh Capitals we had 11 hits. We batted 11 for 22. We hit the ball real well, but after that, the batting average dropped. It was a funk or I guess you could say we had a bad hitting streak.”
Although, according to Honeycutt, the team went through a rough patch at the plate, the Sampson County All-Stars turned around after Friday night’s victory over Raleigh Capitals and played a double-header.
The first game kicked off at 11 a.m. against North Johnston; and, according to Honeycutt’s reports, the Sampson County All-Stars team defeated North Johnson 4-3 in extra innings.
Shortly following their matchup with North Johnston, the Sampson County All-Stars took on Wendell Blue; however, were shut out by the older team, 5-0.
With one loss under their belts, the Sampson County All-Stars prepared to take on North Johnston again.
Unfortunately, according to Honeycutt, the Sampson County All-Stars lost to North Johnston 3-1, which eliminated them from the tournament.
“We gave up three runs in the first inning. We just could not catch a break,” Honeycutt stated, adding that following the first inning the teams played three up and three down every inning, but couldn’t produce a run.
The only run scored by the Sampson County All-Stars came off John Robert McNaught, who was driven in by Butler.
According to Honeycutt, Butler was tagged out at third after trying to stretch out a triple. The point, however, was counted because the runner came in before the out was made.
“It was the best hit of the game,” Honeycutt summarized.
Although this loss eliminated them from the tournament, Honeycutt stated that the Sampson County All-Stars were able to pull of a third place slot in the SWAC 10 and under district tournament.
Wendell Blue came in first and North Johnston second after a 2-0 shutout.
“I want to express my thanks and gratitude to the assistant coaches, Kenny Ivey, Mark Holland and Jim Ezzell. Their help with coaching this team was an essential part of our success. A very special thanks also goes out to the parents, grandparents and families of our boys. The support they showed this team was overwhelming,” Honeycutt said.
“I have coached several sports throughout the years, and I have to say that coaching this group of hard-working boys has been such a pleasure as well as a blessing.”
In addition to the 10 and under finishing third in the SWAC tournament, a call from a sideline mother, Dana Thornton, revealed that the Sampson County All-Stars 12 and under team have progressed to the SWAC regional competition.
The SWAC tournament started off Saturday, July 18, with a 5-3 loss for the 12 and under team; however, they were able to come back with two wins Sunday and two wins Monday, placing them in the regional competition last night in Lillington.
According to reports, the 12 and under team played a doubleheader Tuesday, July 21, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
For results of this game click to www.clintonnc.com or look in the Sampson Independent’s Thursday edition.
Despite the outcome of the regional game, the Sampson County All-Stars 12 and under team have qualified for the state tournament which will be held this weekend in Lillington.
Jessica Wagner can be contacted at 910-592-8137 ext.122 or reached by e-mail at email@example.com