Bryce McCord felt embarrassed by his homerless performance in Friday night's home run derby.
His South Carolina teammates didn't let him off easy -- McCord said many were laughing as he strolled back to the dugout without a long ball.
No one is laughing now.
McCord saved his power for when it truly mattered, launching a pair of two-run homers to lead the group from Surfside Beach to a 9-5 win against Georgia on opening night of the Dixie Boys World Series.
"My teammates were all making fun of me and giving me a rough time," McCord said. "I just decided I was going to show them tonight what I can do."
He sent an emphatic message.
McCord belted his first two-run shot to right-center field to give South Carolina a four-run lead in the third inning. He added his second two innings later to break a 4-4 tie and help his team pull away for the win.
Surfside Beach, which has won the World Series back-to-back years, will play the host team from Beaufort at 7 tonight in the winners' bracket. They defeated Beaufort twice in last year's state tournament.
Beaufort ran away with a 21-1 victory against Virginia on Saturday.
"It's a huge advantage having that experience of being here before," South Carolina coach Jon Yarbrough said. "They're comfortable in this environment. They know what to expect."
They reacted well to an adverse situation Saturday, playing without star catcher Tyler Dillon, who was injured in the team's state tournament.
McCord was moved into the cleanup spot to replace Dillon, and the lineup hardly missed a beat. Eight players had at least one hit, with Dylan Thompson, Buck Bacot and Jacob Zeigler picking up two each.
Chase Freeman provided the biggest blast of the night for Georgia, a two-run homer to center field in the third inning. Georgia added another run in the fourth to tie the game at 4, but Devin Malko allowed only one more hit over the next three innings to pick up the victory on the mound for South Carolina.
"I thought if I did something good right there, it would bring us back," Freeman said. "It wasn't meant to be. ... It's never good getting in the loser's bracket, but we're a tough team, and we know we can come back and win tomorrow."