Five Babe Ruth all-star teams alive as state tourneys near

Jul. 01, 2013 @ 08:57 PM

Five Henderson/Vance Babe Ruth all-star teams are still alive after a weekend of tournament action. The 13-year-old baseball all-stars bypassed the districts, automatically advancing to the state tournament.

The other remaining baseball all-star team, the 14-15-year-olds, were eliminated Sunday by Holly Springs.

The 16-and-under, 14-and-under, 12-and-under, and 8-and-under softball teams each clinched District 4 titles Saturday at Aycock Recreation Center. Eastern North Carolina State Tournament play begins Tuesday, July 9.

Phil Layne’s 14-15-year-old baseball squad lost 8-3 to Holly Springs Sunday after a 7-5 loss to the host team Friday. Warren County went on to beat Holly Springs twice to advance to the state tourney in Kenly.

Layne’s leading hitters were Jesse Hernandez and Logan Waite.

“It wasn’t that the teams were any better than we were,” said Layne. “We just didn’t hit the ball. We couldn’t get a base hit when we needed one.”

The Henderson/Vance 10-and-under softball team had similar struggles against South Granville Saturday. South Granville claimed two wins over Henderson/Vance, including a 6-3 decision in the title match.

“We just couldn’t get the bats going,” said coach William Wortham.

Jordan Dunn, Chelsea Roberson and Victoria Dominguez were the leaders of Wortham’s offense.

Wortham said the South Granville team was good defensively and strong in the middle of its batting order.

The 16-and-under team has had the most all-star success for Henderson/Vance in the last several years, but head coach Mike Norwood is starting from scratch with no returning players from last year’s Babe Ruth World Series team.

Norwood is hoping to use the state tourney to gain experience for the future.

“We’re going to go down there and do the best we can,” said Norwood, “try to compete with the best talent in the state.”

Norwood’s team defeated South Granville 4-3 Friday and advanced to the state tourney after a South Granville forfeit Saturday.

On Friday, Kelly Norwood went the distance for Henderson/Vance, allowing each of her three runs in the third inning. She was 1-for-4 at the plate.

Kiara Alston, Katie McAllister and Amber Peoples were each 2-for-3 for Henderson/Vance. Alston and McAllister each had an RBI. Andrea Taylor was 1-for-3 and Samantha Norwood was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

Mike Thomas’ 14-and-under team defeated South Granville twice, including a seventh-inning rally in an 11-10 championship win.

Thomas said Alicia Shearin and Cierra Murray were the leaders offensively, but each of his girls swung the bats well.

The 12-and-under Henderson/Vance team was perfect over the weekend, scoring a win over South Granville before beating Warren County twice. Henderson/Vance outscored its opponents 60-15.

“We have a lot of talent on the team and we’re well-rounded in all the positions,” said head coach Jeff Harris.

Harris said his deep bunch is poised to make some noise at the state tourney. It’s the first trip to the state tourney for the 12-and-unders in nearly a decade, according to Harris.

Aaliyah Townes and sister, Antoniya, were the offensive leaders on the weekend along with McKenzie Pendergrass. Aaliyah Townes had two doubles and Antoniya had a double and a triple. Pendergrass added two doubles and a triple.

Pendergrass, Chasity Allen, Kaitlyn Tant, and Morgan Allen each spent time on the mound.

Jeff Strickland’s 8-and-under softball team coasted to a 27-6, four-inning win over South Granville in the title game Saturday.

Jasmine Richardson hit for the cycle and added another single to go a perfect 5-for-5. Morgan Strickland had a home run, a triple and two singles, Bailey Daeke had three singles and a double and Alana Crowder and two singles and two doubles.

Pool play runs next Tuesday and Wednesday at Washington’s Susie Gray McConnell Sports Complex before double-elimination bracket play begins Thursday.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.