Softball all-star season ends in Kinston
The Henderson-Vance 16-and-under Babe Ruth softball all-stars were eliminated from state tournament action Monday night in extra innings.
Henderson-Vance fell 13-8 in 10 innings to New Bern in the Eastern North Carolina State Tournament, ending the Vance County all-stars’ summer.
Host Kinston-Lenoir and New Bern are the final teams standing in the three-team tournament and receive invitations to the regional tournament in Morganton.
“I’m proud of them,” Henderson-Vance coach Mike Norwood said of his team. “They came together, especially on the last day. They rallied hard. They tried everything they could do to win that ballgame.”
Henderson-Vance and New Bern entered extra innings tied at 7 before New Bern struck for six runs in the top of the 10th.
After winning a district title, Henderson-Vance finished 0-4 in Kinston, falling 11-0 to the hosts on Saturday before a 7-1 loss to New Bern. On Sunday, Henderson-Vance was defeated 11-1 by Kinston-Lenoir.
Norwood said Kinston-Lenoir is a travel team and New Bern also has a club team core.
“These travel teams that play together have been playing together an entire season,” said Norwood. “We’ve been together for two weeks.”
The state tournament last year in Washington featured eight teams. Norwood said some of the traditional Babe Ruth areas in the eastern part of the state have switched from Babe Ruth to a different organization, contributing to the small sampling of teams in this summer’s tourney.
The 15-and-under baseball team is the only Henderson-Vance Babe Ruth squad still alive in all-star play. The 15s are scheduled to begin their state tournament July 18 in Pembroke.