On the opening night of the Dixie Youth Baseball Hilton Head Minors Super District Tournament on Monday night at Hilton Head Island's Crossings Park, Bluffton National coach Jeff Catanzaro said the tendency for kids in the first game is to swing the bat early.
His kids did just that, making three quick outs in the bottom half of the first inning of their game against Bluffton American.
But the Nationals remembered the patience Catanzaro had preached in the second inning when they sent 16 batters to the plate and plated 12 runs on the strength of six walks and went on to win 14-2 in four innings.
Bluffton National put just six balls into play in the inning.
"They're kids and they've been practicing for two to three weeks without getting to play," Catanzaro said. "They were itching to put the bat on the ball and they were swinging early. But they settled down in the second."
All 12 Bluffton National batters scored a run in the inning. Zach Murdaugh reached on a fielder's choice and later scored the first run of the inning. He later drove in the final two runs of the frame on a line-drive single to right.
Cole Boyles singled and scored, and Dylan Boyles, Nate Hoyt and Drake Parker each drove in runs in the inning. For the game, Stephen Mims walked, doubled and scored twice, while Dylan Boyles walked and scored twice.
The test will get tougher Wednesday for the Nationals. They face Hilton Head Coastal, an 11-10 winner over Hilton Head Atlantic at 8 p.m. on Field 3.
"We know that it'll be a challenge," Catanzaro said. "We've played some tournament ball games against the Hilton Head teams and we understand we'll have to be focused."
The Bluffton Americans will have to rebound from the rough opener. They face Hilton Head Atlantic at 6 p.m. on Field 3.
"You have to focus on what their strengths were," Bluffton American coach Matt Vause said. "You don't want to dwell on the negatives, you want to build on the positives. You can't ignore the negatives, but you want them to go to bed on the positives.
"It's a double-elimination tournament. You have to convince them they can still be in this thing."
In other game action:
Hilton Head Coastal 11, Hilton Head Atlantic 10: Hilton Head Atlantic took a 10-2 lead in the fourth but couldn't score the last two runs it needed to run-rule Hilton Head Coastal. It came back to bite them.
With two on and one out and Coastal trailing 10-7 in the bottom of the seventh, Reese Malon smoked a line drive over the center fielder's head and came all the way around to score to tie the game at 10. Two batters later, Harrison Green hit a deep fly ball over the center fielder's head to drive in the game-winning run.
Green also pitched three innings of relief. John Peduzzi and Nicholas Flood each drove in two for Coastal. For Atlantic, Tommy Stauffer singled and scored twice, while Jace Blackshear drove in two. The two teams combined for 23 walks.
Beaufort American 9, Walterboro 5: Oliver Holmes singled and walked and scored twice, and Michael Smith and Christian Landono each walked and scored twice for Beaufort. Samuel Horton had two singles, and William Winborn singled and scored.
Beaufort East 19, Hampton 6: Hayden Jennings went 4 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI, and Wes Graves added two singles, two walks, three runs scored and RBI to lead Beaufort.
Daniel McClam doubled twice and drove in two, Joshua Denton singled twice and scored twice and Ethan Goodwin singled twice, walked and scored three runs.
Dixie Youth Baseball Hilton Head Minors Super District Tournament
At Crossings Park, Hilton Head Island
Monday, June 24
Game 1: Beaufort East 19, Hampton 6
Game 2: Beaufort American 9, Walterboro 5
Game 3: Bluffton Nationals 14, Bluffton American 2, 4 innings
Game 4: Hilton Head Coastal 11, Hilton Head Atlantic 10
Tuesday, June 25
Game 5: Hampton vs. Walterboro, 6 p.m. (Field 1)
Game 6: Bluffton American vs. Hilton Head Atlantic, 6 p.m. (Field 3)
Game 7: Beaufort East vs. Beaufort American, 8 p.m. (Field 1)
Game 8: Bluffton Nationals vs. Hilton Head Coastal 11, 8 p.m. (Field 3)
Wednesday, June 26
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 6 p.m. (Field 1)
Game 10: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 6 p.m. (Field 3)
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 8 p.m. (Field 3)
Thursday, June 27
Game 12: Game 11 loser vs. Game 10 winner, 6 p.m. (Field 3)
Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 8 p.m. (Field 3)
Friday, June 28
Game 14: Game 13 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 6 p.m. (Field 3)
Saturday, June 30
Game 15: Game 14 winner vs. bye, 8 p.m. (Field 3)*
*If after Game 13 there are three teams with one loss each, all will draw for the Game 15 bye.