The team everyone had proclaimed the best finally proved it Sunday, but not before receiving a fight.
Beaufort East, long considered the favorite in Dixie Youth O-Zone District 8, defeated Hilton Head 10-7 in the deciding game at The Crossings Park to claim the district title and a spot in the state tournament later this month in Sumter. Hilton Head pushed the favorites to the brink, winning Game 1 on Sunday to force the deciding game and bringing the potential winning run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth in the nightcap.
After watching Hilton Head come from three runs back to win Game 1, Beaufort kept the pressure on and delivered timely hits to claim the district crown.
"We were kind of nervous," said Beaufort's Rome Wallace, who pitched Game 1 and had two hits during the deciding game. "But we just had to focus. We knew we had to play to the best of our abilities to win this game."
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Beaufort scored five runs during the third and three more in the fifth. Patrick Talbert's solo home run in the sixth sealed the victory for the Beaufort squad.
Beaufort led 5-2 in Game 1 before Hilton Head rallied with five runs in the fifth and won 7-6.
"We are a hitting team and did not show it the first game," Beaufort coach Dean Adkins said. "And (I told them) all they need to do is step it up and play their game, and they'd be just fine."
Adkins said his all-stars would take the day off today before beginning practice for the state tournament in Sumter. The 11- and 12-year-olds might could use the rest after playing more than they might have expected Sunday.
The two teams met in the opening game of the district tournament, after Hilton Head had heard for some time that the Beaufort squad was solid. And Beaufort won the first meeting by the run rule.
But Hilton Head's all-stars were over the intimidation factor by the fifth inning Sunday. They played an error-free first game to squeak by and almost pulled off the upset in Game 2.
"We battled hard," Hilton Head manager John Kaiser said. "We've got a lot of 11-year-olds on this team, so we've got another year."
Hilton Head 7, Beaufort East 6
Hilton Head 101 050-- 7 10 0
Beaufort 140 010-- 6 9 0
WP: Shane Clark 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 K
LP: Rome Wallace 5 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 K
Hitters: Hilton Head--Cameron Bent 3 for 4, 2B, SB; Boyce Kobler 2 for 4, HR, 3 RBI. Beaufort-- Kyle Stavac 1 for 1, HR, 3 RBI; Landon Thorpe 2 for 2, 2B, SB; Clayton Ruff 2 for 3; Patrick Talbert 1 for 3, HR.
Beaufort East 10, Hilton Head 7
Beaufort 005 041-- 10 9 3
Hilton Head 101 230-- 7 7 3
WP: Kyle Stavac 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 K
LP: Ned Gilleland 5 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 9 ER 6 K
Hitters: Beaufort-- Rome Wallace 2 for 3, 2B, RBI; Brice Adkins 2 for 4, RBI; Hartley Smith 2 for 2, 2B, BB. Hilton Head-- Cameron Bent 2 for 3, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SB; Shane Clark 2 for 2, BB.