Both Bluffton teams went undefeated on the first day of the Dixie Youth Baseball AA Machine Pitch (7-8) State Tournament on Saturday in Florence.
Bluffton American defeated host Delmae (16-1) and Summerville (11-4), while Bluffton National earned wins over North Myrtle Beach (10-1) and Gaffney (8-4) on the opening day of the 12-team, double-elimination tournament. The Bluffton teams will square off at 3 p.m. Sunday in a winner’s bracket game.
Bluffton American blew out the host team in its opener, scoring the maximum seven runs in each of the first two innings and finishing off the victory in three innings via the mercy rule. Nathan Fulton and Declan Mitchell each had two hits and four RBIs to lead the way, while Noah Sepulveda, Jaxson LeBaron, Derek Blesie, Finn Boyles, Trevor Wolfe, Nicholas Carpenter, Gage Colella, and Nathan Guthrie added two hits apiece.
American broke open a tied game with a seven-run fifth inning to defeat Summerville. Boyles was 3-for-3 with four RBIs, Blesie was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Sepulveda added two hits and two RBIs, and Zack Szypczak, Fulton, Wolfe, and Mitchell each added two hits.
Bluffton National used a strong defensive effort to control its opening game against North Myrtle Beach. National jumped out to a 3-1 lead after one inning and shut out North Myrtle Beach the rest of the way en route to a 10-1 victory. Eli Elam and Colt Harper each had three hits and an RBI, and Nic Farrugia was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Caleb Malphrus, Austin Broene, Landon Kyle, Duncan Conn, and Truman Jarrett added two hits apiece.
Elam was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, and Harper was 3-for-3 with an RBI in National’s 8-4 victory over Gaffney, while Broene and Russell Spencer added two hits apiece and Farrugia was 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
Blythewood is the only other undefeated team remaining and awaits the winner of the Bluffton American-Bluffton National matchup on Monday. The loser of the Bluffton clash will face either Gaffney or Ladson in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Monday.