Hernando County’s Dixie Baseball World Series drought since 2000 was extended when the Hernando County Majors All-Stars (ages 17-19) returned home this week after a 2-2 effort.
According to Hernando High’s veteran mentor Tim Sims, who guided the local nine, the 12-team 41st annual World Series at Eagle Stadium in Ozark, Ala. was an evenly matched affair.
“We played four one-run games. There were no cupcakes there,” declared Coach Sims, who guided the Hernando County Majors to the county’s last World Series crown in 2000. “We beat the host team, Ozark, in our first game, 5-4. To me, they might have been the best team there.
“Not much separated us, Ozark, (North Charleston) South Carolina or Auburn (Ala.),” detailed Coach Sims.
South Carolina (5-1) eventually trimmed Paris, Texas (5-2) in a winner-take-all finale late Wednesday night, 2-1.
In Saturday’s Game 1 opener, Brooks Timmons stroked a sacrifice fly to seal Hernando’s walk-off victory against Ozark.
Austin Treverton paced the local nine with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate. Brooks Wilson hurled the first four innings before Trenton Gantt worked two frames.
In Sunday’s Game 2, South Carolina handed the Hernando nine its first loss, 5-4.
Down 4-0, Hernando rallied for four runs in the sixth to tie matters. Wilson had a key RBI double while Treverton reached on an error to tie the game.
With runners at the corners and one out, the dangerous Justin Young was called out on strike three after he argued the pitcher balked prior to the pitch.
“It was one of the most unique baseball calls I’ve ever seen,” noted Coach Sims, who has played on or coached 11 teams at the World Series level.
As Hernando failed to score, South Carolina scored a run in the seventh to squeak out a win.
In the first game of Monday’s twin bill, the Hernando Majors built a 10-5 cushion only to trail 15-10 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Facing elimination, the Hernando crew coaxed three consecutive bases-loaded walks before knocking in a two-run single to tie the game, 15-all.
After another free pass, a balk was charged against the Mississippi hurler, forcing home the winning run in a 16-15 thriller.
“When we left, the Mississippi folks were still arguing with that umpiring crew,” recalled Coach Sims.
In Monday night’s nightcap, the Hernando County nine ran out of steam. Hernando was limited to a pair of safeties in losing 2-1 to Auburn, Ala.
Young drove in Hernando’s lone run with an RBI single.
“Looking back, we knew that if we could have beaten South Carolina, we would have been in excellent shape and avoided Monday’s doubleheader,” pointed out Sims. “It just seemed like every team there had enough pitching for four games, but not necessarily for five.
“Dixie Majors has really changed over the years,” added Coach Sims. “But the tournament was fun and we faced a lot of very good competition. All of our kids picked up something from this summer.”
On his team’s biggest positives, “Tanner Bammert batted in the No. 2 hole for us as a 17-year-old in a 19-year-old bracket,” detailed Sims. “He was solid defensively and kept getting on base. He finished 4-for-12 (.333) at the plate and performed above and beyond our expectations at shortstop.”
2014 Final 41st annual Dixie Baseball Majors (ages 17-19) All-Stars World Series Recap
at Eagle Stadium in Ozark, Alabama
Monroe, Louisiana 11, Laurel Jones, Mississippi 1
McNairy County, Tennessee 11, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 1
Auburn, Alabama 6, Paris, Texas 5 (9 Innings)
Columbia County, Georgia 9, Hope Mills, North Carolina 1
North Charleston, South Carolina 5, Goochland, Virginia 0
Hernando County, Florida 5, Ozark, Alabama 4
Laurel Jones, Mississippi 16, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 7
Paris, Texas 11, Hope Mills, North Carolina 0
Ozark, Alabama 14, Goochland, Virginia 0
North Charleston, South Carolina 5, Hernando County, Florida 4
Auburn, Alabama 15, Columbia County, Georgia 5
Monroe, Louisiana 11, McNairy County, Tennessee 10
McNairy County, Tennessee 18, Columbia County, Georgia 11
Paris, Texas 4, Ozark, Alabama 3
Hernando County, Florida 16, Laurel Jones, Mississippi 15
Monroe, Louisiana 7, Auburn, Alabama 0
Paris, Texas 10, McNairy County, Tennessee 6
Auburn, Alabama 2, Hernando County, Florida 1
North Charleston, South Carolina 8, Monroe, Louisiana 1
Paris, Texas 4, Monroe, Louisiana 3
North Charleston, South Carolina 11, Auburn, Alabama 3
Paris, Texas 11, North Charleston, South Carolina 1
North Charleston, South Carolina 2, Paris, Texas 1
2014 Final 41st annual Dixie Baseball Majors (ages 17-19) All-Stars World Series Standings
- Compiled by TONY CASTRO
PL TEAM W L .PCT RS RA
1. North Charleston, S.C. 5 1 .833 32 20
2. Paris, Tx. 5 2 .714 46 21
3. Auburn, Ala. 3 2 .600 26 29
3. Monroe, La. 3 2 .600 33 23
5. Hernando County, Fla. 2 2 .500 26 26
5. McNairy County, Tenn. 2 2 .500 45 33
7. Columbia County, Ga. 1 2 .333 25 34
7. Laurel Jones, Miss. 1 2 .333 32 33
7. Ozark, Ala. 1 2 .333 21 9
10. Goochland, Va. 0 2 .000 0 19
10. Hope Mills, N.C. 0 2 .000 1 20
10. Pine Bluff, Ark. 0 2 .000 8 27
TOTALS (12) 23 23 .500