By REID TUCKER
It ended a week after it began, but the result of the Dixie Youth Baseball District 2 pitching machine tournament was worth the wait for Freeport’s club.
Thanks to a late-night nail-biter of a 6-5 win against Paxton, Freeport will represent the district at the state tournament starting June 28 in Wildwood. Paxton will also travel to state as the runner up.
The young Bulldogs defeated Shalimar’s club 19-11 in both teams’ first appearance in the tournament but they then fell 11-7 to Paxton later that night before being forced to brave constant weather delays throughout the week. Nevertheless, Freeport came out in force when the clouds parted just in time for the Friday, June 7, rematch against Paxton in the final round of the tournament.
Freeport jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and stretched it to 5-2 by the end of the fourth inning. The Bulldogs kept the advantage despite a comeback push from Paxton, which added three runs of its own to cut Freeport’s lead to 6-5 after the fifth. Freeport held on through a close sixth inning to get the win and a berth to the state tourney.
Freeport first baseman Jayce Goddin led in defense on the night, amassing 11 putouts, and Hunter Lenior and Hagan Marse supported with two putouts and an assist apiece. Paxton’s top defensive player of the game was second baseman Lane Carroll, with five putouts and an assist, while teammates Will Hall and Logan Sims added five putouts between them.
Those wishing to help Freeport with travel expenses can mail tax deductible donations to Freeport Youth Sports, PO Box 543, Freeport, FL 32439. Management requests that checks be made payable to Freeport Youth Sports, reference Pitching Machine All-Stars. More information is available at (850) 259-1491.
The weather also proved a nuisance at the District 2 Minor League and T-ball tournaments, which started June 7 in Paxton. The first and second days of the tournaments went off without a hitch, with Paxton and Shalimar emerging as the top two teams in the Minors, while Paxton and Ponce de Leon will rematch to settle the T-ball championship. Scores were unavailable at press time, but games scheduled for June 9 were rained out, as were Monday’s make-up games, leaving the titles to be decided Tuesday.