Dean Adkins likes -- and doesn't like -- what he's seen thus far from his Beaufort pitching staff in the Dixie Boys baseball tournament.
His staff has given up a grand total of one hit in 13 innings over the first two games, which has helped guide Beaufort to a 2-0 start in the bracket comprised of players 14 and under. However...
"That's a good feat as long as we can cut down the walks," Adkins said. "If we can cut down the walks, we're right where we need to be."
Control has plagued Beaufort in its fast start, as the pitching staff issued 13 walks in Monday's 7-4 win over Summerville before four pitchers each plunked a batter in Wednesday's 12-2 triumph over Hanahan. But Adkins will take it as long as the end result stays the same.
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"When we throw it in there, they're not hitting us," Adkins said. "We've got pitching, we're just not right in the zone just yet."
That may not be a problem if the other phases of the game remain intact, as Beaufort pounded the ball and played sound defense Wednesday to remain unbeaten. Adkins' club used a five-run second inning -- thanks in part to three errors from Hanahan's second baseman -- to put the game away early before Rome Wallace and Patrick Talbert helped end things in the sixth with consecutive inside-the-park homers.
They likely will need a repeat performance 7 p.m. Thursday against Hilton Head, which was off Wednesday after beating Bluffton 12-2 in the tournament opener.
Bluffton, meanwhile, was eliminated by Summerville after Cody Sims' walk-off double in the seventh lifted his club to an 8-7 victory. Bluffton had trailed 7-2 heading into the sixth inning after spotting Summerville a four-run cushion in the opening frame, but fought back to tie it up on the strength of a pair of two-run singles from Hunter and Drew Eldridge.
The brothers combined to plate six of Bluffton's seven runs, with the other coming on a dropped fly ball by Summerville's center fielder in the pivotal sixth inning. But Christian Clark coaxed a leadoff walk to open the bottom of the seventh before coming around to score on Sims' liner into the left-field corner.
"We have a lot of really good baseball players in Bluffton, a lot of good 13 year olds and a lot of good 14 year olds for that matter," coach Bruce Yeager said. " ... We're excited about baseball in Bluffton from 14, 13 on through. Hopefully we can pick up the high school program and get that back on track. Baseball is alive and well in Bluffton."
Wednesday's loss brought the end to a tumultuous few days for the Bluffton baseball team, as assistant coach John "JT" Trerotola died last Friday. His son, John Jr., served as an assistant coach for the club this week while little brother Jagger suited up for the squad. The team wore "JT" patches on their sleeves in his memory while a portion of the gate fee and money from a 50/50 raffle were donated to the Trerotola family.
"This is a really young team," Yeager said. " ... They've been faced with a lot of adversity. JT was a coach that I coached with and coached against. I coached with him this year.
"We're a pretty tight baseball community in Bluffton. When one person hurts, we all hurt. It's been a lot of stress. We played kind of tight, but that's OK, it's just a game."
Dixie Boys Baseball District Tournament
At Burton Wells Recreation Complex, Beaufort
Game 1: Beaufort 7, Summerville 4
Game 2: Hilton Head 12, Bluffton 2
All games postponed
Game 3: Beaufort 12, Hanahan 2
Game 4: Summerville 8, Bluffton 7, Bluffton eliminated
Game 5: Beaufort vs. Hilton Head
Game 6: Summerville vs. Hanahan