When it was all said and done, Sunday was a bad case of deja vu for the Beaufort X-Play Ponytails all-stars. Playing as the host team in the Dixie state softball tournament at Oscar Frazier Field in Bluffton, Beaufort sprinted out to an early lead. But that's where the good times ended.
Essence Champion's single drove in two of the team's four first-inning runs, and they looked to be set for a bounce-back performance after a defeat on Saturday. But some of the problems that crept up the day before re-emerged, including questionable defense and struggles in the pitching circle.
Florence took full advantage en route to a 22-4 win, eliminating Beaufort. For head coach Charlie Simmons, this was an experience he hopes his team grows from.
"It's a fun game to play," Simmons said afterward, adding that his goal was to try to get his players more focused on executing the fundamentals of the game.
As Florence pulled away, Simmons walked to the center of the infield and called a team-wide meeting. Simmons said he emphasized that no matter the final score, his squad was lucky to be playing in a tournament environment when many other girls from around the state are not.
"We're fortunate to be out here," Simmons said he told his team. "Let's just focus and have fun."
The loss eliminated Beaufort in Ponytails play. Florence advance to an elimination game against either Turbeville or Waccamaw
BLUFFTON ELIMINATES BEAUFORT
A day after losing 15-5 against Lancaster, the Bluffton X-Play Angels all-stars (ages 9 and 10) got back on track in spectacular fashion. They stormed to 17 first-inning runs and never looked back in a 26-16 win over Beaufort, which dropped both games of its tournament.
Bluffton's batting and heads-up base-running helped the home squad take full advantage of Beaufort errors in the field and in the circle. A late Beaufort rally in the top of the third -- during which they scored 13 runs, mostly on walks -- nearly kept the game alive for another half inning, but Bluffton was able to close it out.
With the win, Bluffton advances to another elimination game against Aynor on Monday at 5 p.m.
BEAUFORT SWEETEES FALL
Beaufort fell 19-2 to Aynor in the Sweetees tournament. The face Latta at 3 p.m. Monday.