Sampson Independent

Colts advance to state finals

The Clinton All-Stars, also known as the Colts, have been in the driver seat for the entire 2018 Dixie Youth Baseball State Tournament. With a rematch against Bessemer City keeping them from the championship, the Colts delivered a dominating 11-1 win Tuesday to advance to the title game.

In their first encounter, the Colts won but Bessemer made somewhat of a game out of it. Of the four matches that Clinton has played, that first matchup was the closest game they’ve had. The end result was a 12-6 win that pushed the Colts to the third round on the winner’s side of the bracket. Tuesday’s game was not as close.

While they ended up winning by mercy-rule, head coach Terry Smith pointed out they had a stalemate on their hands before they got going.

“It was 1-1 for quite a while, but our pitching really came through for us again in this game. We were able to keep it close because of it until about the fourth inning when our bats woke up,” said Smith. “From there, we got it going and ended up mercying them out.”

The defense also stepped up in a big way compared to the first face-off, holding a team that has scored the most against them all tournament to just a single run.

“Our defense was great — they really got behind our pitching,” said Smith. “I was able to keep one player in for two whole innings. After this we now have nine guys that are pitching for us and that has really been our strong suit.”

“The defense has gotten better, they made a lot of plays and allowed us to sit back and keep throwing strikeouts,” he added.

Smith commended his players for the work they put in to get the championship.

“It feels good to be playing for the championship. These guys really deserve it. They’ve put in a lot of hard work and sacrificed just as much of their summer to get here,” stated Smith.

“We’ve now got two home runs as well, but it’s our team effort that’s pushed us this far. No one guy sticks out over the other and an overall team effort has us in the championship,” concluded Smith. ‘

The All-Stars were to face North Duplin for the title Wednesday night.

The Colts’ Hayden Boney celebrates during his team’s deep run in the Dixie Youth State Championship. After the 11-1 win in their rematch against Bessemer City, they advance to the championship.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_all.jpgThe Colts’ Hayden Boney celebrates during his team’s deep run in the Dixie Youth State Championship. After the 11-1 win in their rematch against Bessemer City, they advance to the championship.
All-Stars win by mercy rule, to play for title

By Michael Hardison

Sports Editor

Reach Michael Hardison at mhardison@clintonnc.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.