Bluffton American claimed a spot in the championship game, while Bluffton National’s run ended in the final four Monday at the Dixie Youth Baseball AA Machine Pitch (7-8) State Tournament in Florence.
Bluffton American is the only remaining undefeated team after defeating Blythewood 5-3 and Summerville 6-1 on Monday to advance to Tuesday’s championship game. Blythewood bounced back with a 5-0 win over Bluffton National to earn a rematch with American but will need to win twice Tuesday to claim the state title and a spot in the Dixie World Series from July 26-30 in Ruston, Louisiana.
American was down to its last out against Blythewood, trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth before Zack Szypczak’s RBI double and Derek Blesie’s RBI triple tied the game. Gage Colella then rounded the bases on a ground ball on the infield to plate two runs in the seventh, and American held on. Finn Boyles was 3-for-3 , and Szypczak, Blesie, and Nathan Guthrie added two hits apiece for American.
American moved into the championship game with a strong performance against Summerville, as Noah Sepulveda and Guthrie each went 3-for-3 with an RBI, Mayze Wheeler was 2-for-2, and Nicholas Carpenter added two RBIs.
Bluffton National kept its run alive with a 13-2 win over Ladson on Monday afternoon, plating nine runs in the first and three in the second en route to a mercy-rule victory. Russell Cooler and Duncan Conn each had two hits and two RBIs, while Nic Farrugia, Landon Kyle, and Truman Jarrett each added two hits and one RBI. Colt Harper and Austin Broene also had two hits, and Eli Elam and Russell Spencer added a hit and two RBIs.
National was stymied by an outstanding defensive performance from Blythewood in a 5-0 defeat that ended its run. Broene had two hits, and Harper, Farrugia, Kyle, Cooler, and Aaron James Jackson added one hit apiece for National, which finished its all-star season with a 6-4 record with all four losses coming to the two state finalists.
Blythewood and Bluffton American are scheduled to square off at 10 a.m. Tuesday with a second game to follow only if Blythewood wins.
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