The Bluffton American All-Stars split two pool play games Saturday to advance to the championship bracket at the Dixie Youth Baseball AA (8U) Machine Pitch World Series in Ruston, Louisiana.
After opening with a 10-4 loss to Louisiana on Saturday morning, the South Carolina state champs rallied from an early deficit for a 4-2 win over North Carolina in the afternoon to finish second in the pool and earn a spot in the championship bracket.
A five-run second inning put Bluffton in a big hole in its opener, and Louisiana played strong defense to prevent a comeback. Zack Szypczak was 2-for-2 and Jaxson LeBaron had a two-run triple to lead Bluffton at the plate.
Bluffton trailed 2-0 after two innings against North Carolina before pushing across two runs in the third and adding two more in the sixth to win a defensive struggle. Nathan Guthrie doubled and scored twice, and Trevor Wolfe had an RBI to lead the way at the plate.
Bluffton will face the Tennessee state champs at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday and play a second game later in the evening. The double-elimination tournament continues through Tuesday.
Photo by Sara Boyles