The 2010 Dixie Girls State Tournament is well under way at the Timken Sports Complex in Union.
Twenty-eight teams from across the state — including three from Union Conty — each are vying for that coveted state championship in their three respective divisions.
The Union County teams have had mixed results since their tournament openers on Saturday, July 17.
The Belles remain undefeated in tournament action while the Ponytails have won 2 of their first three games and the Debs are now out of the tournament after Monday night.
Ponytails defeat Lancaster 5-4
By JOE PETTIT
In the beaming July sun, Union faced Lancaster in an elimination game in the Dixie Ponytails State Tournament held at the Timken Sports Complex. Thanks to a big fourth inning, Union Ponytails hitting helped them to stay alive in tournament play with a 5–4 victory over Lancaster.
“A lot of them went to the hitting cages and hitting pulled us through today. People haven’t seen just how good this team can hit.” Union Dixie Ponytails head coach Audra Scott added.
Union Ponytail’s Alexis McGowan, Alexis Savage, and Cassie Horne would reach base to start the fourth inning and place the pressure on Lancaster’s defense. After a wild pitch by Lancaster, Alexis McGowan would slide safely across home plate for a share of the lead. Payton Martin singled to center field to bring around two more runs to give the Union Ponytails a 3 – 1 lead over Lancaster.
Lancaster added to the excitement by answering with three runs in the fifth to take a 4 – 3 lead. The pressure now placed back on the Union Ponytails’ shoulders. In the top of the sixth and final inning, Union Ponytails found a little fuel in the bottom of their tanks. Connor Medford gave the team what they need by leading off the inning with a single to right field. Medford then stole second and third base. Two batters later, Medford would score the tying run on Lancaster’s wild pitch. Payton Martin’s third RBI in the sixth would give Union the 5 – 4 lead.
Union only needed three outs and they would send Lancaster home. After a long official’s delay in the bottom of the sixth, Union’s Karlie Lane fanned the first two Lancaster batters and the Union Ponytails were one out away from advancing to next round of tournament play. However, Lancaster would not go down with out a fight as they rallied for back-to-back singles. After the second single by Lancaster the runner went for third base and Union’s relay would get the final out to secure their spot in Tuesday’s tournament play.
“Hard work paid off for us today after our heart breaking loss against Landrum” Coach Audra Scott told her team after their 5 -4 victory over Lancaster.
The Union Ponytails advance to the next round to face Sumter tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. at the Timken Sports Complex.
In second round action at the 2010 Dixie Girls State Tournament, it would take three extra innings for the Union Dixie Ponytails to learn who would advance to the next round without a loss.
The Ponytails held Landrum hitless through eight innings. However, Landrum’s first hit would prove to be enough as they defeated Union 1–0.
After the heartbreaking loss, the Ponytails regrouped to take on Lancaster in the elimination contest Monday.
Debs taken out by Sumter
By JOE PETTIT
In the elimination game Monday night, the Sumter Dixie Debs came up big in the first inning to defeat the Union Dixie Debs 15-1 at the Timken Sports Complex.
Sumter pounded Union for five runs in the first inning to eliminate the Union Debs from the 2010 Dixie Girls State Tournament.
For a third straight day of exhausting July heat, the Union Debs would take the field in hopes of winning, but they could not seem to find any relief.
Sumter added eight more runs in the third inning to stomp out any chance of a Union comeback. Sumter never looked back after taking the 13–0 lead.
Sumter would add two more runs in the fourth inning before Union would score its first. For the second consecutive night, the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule.
With this loss, Union is eliminated from tournament play.
Georgetown’s Dixie Debs came out strong in second round action Sunday night by scoring early to defeat the Union Dixie Debs 14–4 in state tournament play.
Union stopped Georgetown’s early momentum when Georgetown made a pitching change in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Union Debs would score four runs in the fourth inning but it would prove to be too little too late.
Georgetown defeated Union by 10 runs and the mercy rule was put into action in the sixth inning.
“They dogged us like we did Lewisville the other night.” sdai Union Dixie Debs head coach Bennie Kershaw.
This loss sent Union to the loser’s bracket to face Sumter on Monday.
Belles jump all over Seneca
By JOE PETTIT
The Union Dixie Belles jumped on Seneca by scoring eight runs in the first inning to secure a 14–4 win vs. Seneca in the Dixie Girls State Tournament on Sunday night.
“We jumped on them early and we didn’t let up” said Union Belles assistant coach Jerry Foster.
Union received another great performance from one of their ace pitchers, Tiffany Vaughan.
She pitched three shutout innings and recorded the win. Head coach John Vaughan decided to rest Tiffany’s arm for later tournament action.
Seneca made the most from this change as they pushed four runners over home plate to cut Union’s lead in half. Union answered with two more runs in the fourth and three more runs in the fifth inning for a 13–4 lead.
Union held Seneca scoreless in the sixth before adding a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. This run would give the Union Belles the victory by way of the 10-run mercy rule. With this win, Union remained undefeated and faced Sumter on Monday night.
In only a matter of minutes, the Union Belles would take the lead and not surrender it on Monday night against Sumter.
Behind great hitting and rock solid base running, the Union Belles defeated Sumter 13–3 in the winner’s bracket game.
This win puts the Union Belles as the only undefeated team in their bracket and they will play Marlboro County today (Tuesday, July 20) at 6 p.m. at the Timken Sports Complex.
Tanijah Hunter lead off the first inning with a single and after a throwing error by Sumter, she would come around all the bases to give Union a quick 1–0 lead. Andrea Eison stepped up to the plate and delivered a hard hit shot to the right field fence for a stand up triple. Abby Allen took first base after being hit by a pitch. Ashley Vaughan grounded out to bring Eison home for the sacrifice RBI and a 2–0 lead.
Logan Wade would continue the scoring for Union as she drove Allen across home plate with a sacrifice fly. Cece Morman would reach on a base on balls and would later score on Katie Melton’s line drive single to give Union the 4–0 lead.
Tiffany Vaughan started the game on the mound for the Union Belles and pitched a perfect two innings giving up no hits and no runs.
After Vaughan’s departure from the mound, Sumter took advantage by putting up three runs in the top of third inning to cut Union’s lead to just one and make the score 4–3.
The Union Belles would storm back in the bottom of the fourth to put the game away.
Union ran away with the lead by scoring eight runs on seven hits to take the 12–3 lead. After holding Sumter scoreless in the fifth and sixth frames, the Union Belles shortened the game by scoring one more run in the sixth inning.
The Union Belles won 13–3 by way of the 10-run mercy rule
The 2010 Dixie Girls State Tournament championship games will be played Wednesday at the Timken Sports Complex.