Dixie Baseball

Spring Hill Minors come home with state title in tow

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Spring Hill American White displays its championship banner following Wednesday's final of the Dixie Baseball AAA Minors All-Stars State Tournament in Marianna. Photo provided

Roughly 34 miles separate the home fields of the Spring Hill and South Sumter Dixie Baseball Leagues.
Yet teams from those two organizations found themselves up in the Panhandle on Wednesday, playing in the final of the AAA Minors (age 9-10) All-Stars State Tournament at the MERE Complex in Marianna.

Dixie round-up: HYL Angels learn from state showing

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

HYL Angels second baseman Carmen Edwards throws to first at Tom Varn Park on June 18. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The Hernando Youth League Angels (age 9-10) All-Stars garnered a trip to states with an impressive performance despite finishing as the runner-up in last month’s district tournament.
Afforded the opportunity to keep playing, the HYL Angels had a short two-game stay at the state tournament last weekend in Bristol, but hoped it was productive moving forward.

Brooksville Bulldogs send two to World Series

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The Brookville Bulldogs Majors All-Stars celebrate winning a state championship in Bushnell on Sunday. Photo provided

Suffice to say, the Brooksville Bulldogs travel team had a pretty good weekend up in Sumter County.
With two entries in the Dixie Baseball Majors (19U) All-Stars State Tournament at Kenny Dixon Sports Complex in Bushnell, one of them a Pre-Majors (17U) squad, the Bulldogs didn’t even have to bother playing a final when they ended up as the last two teams standing.
At the end of the month, the Bulldogs squads will go on their respective World Series, the Majors to Monroe, La. and the Pre-Majors to Guntersville, Ala. Both tournaments start on July 29.

Spring Hill Senior Boys take states

Photography Cheryl Clanton

Spring Hill Senior All-Star Anthony Anselmo connects on a pitch against West Seminole on Wednesday morning. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

One out away from a state title, yet one run away from blowing a lead, Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars head coach Jimmy Holt rolled the dice and held his breath.
Holt opted to intentionally walk dangerous West Seminole hitter Tyler Hopkins, loading the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Dixie Baseball District 6 Tournament championship game at Anderson Snow Sports Complex.
“It was a really tough decision,” Holt said. “We made a decision to walk him and I literally swallowed my stomach a few times hoping it was the right one.”

Ridge Manor Majors make history

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Ridge Manor pitcher Bryce Saltsman throws to the plate in Thursday's district title game against South Sumter. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

RIDGE MANOR – Throughout its history, Ridge Manor Dixie Baseball has struggled to overcome the obstacles that plague such a small program.
That’s why even in losing the AAA Majors (age 11-12) All-Stars District 6 Tournament final on Thursday night at Ridge Manor Community Park, 19-0 in three innings against a loaded South Sumter squad, the host team had plenty to celebrate.
As the district runner-up, this Ridge Manor team became the first in league history to earn its way to a state tournament. All previous state appearances came via automatic berths.

Spring Hill ‘B’ team delivers A-plus performance

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Brody Hedick of Spring Hill American takes a swing at a pitch in Thursday's District 6 Tournament game against South Sumter. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Spring Hill American may have entered the Dixie Baseball AA Machine Pitch (ages 7-8) All-Stars District 6 Tournament last weekend as something of an afterthought.
The less seasoned of the two squads from Spring Hill in the double-elimination event held at Ernie Wever Youth Park, SH American nonetheless found its way to the championship game on Friday night.
Defeating South Sumter two nights in a row proved a difficult challenge for the local club, which fell 17-0 in 3 ½ innings yet nonetheless earned a trip to the state tournament July 1 in Sebring.

Bittersweet finish for Spring Hill Seniors

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Spring Hill's Jonny McMath plays first base during the Dixie Senior Boys state tournament at Anderson Snow Sports Complex last month. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For most teams, finishing as the World Series runner-up would rank as a phenomenal run through Dixie Baseball All-Star play.
But for the Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14), such an accomplishment this week came with a hint of disappointment.
When Spring Hill faced Bossier City, Louisiana on Wednesday in Pineville, Louisiana, it marked the third straight year this core group had reached a World Series final.

Price-led team goes 2-2 at World Series

Photography Alice Mary Herden

First baseman Andres Cabrera was among the Hernando High grads who played for Polk City in the Dixie Majors World Series. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

It took Bruce Price multiple attempts to coach a team to a Dixie Baseball World Series. Last weekend, the manager of the Brooksville Bulldogs travel ball squad finally got his chance on the biggest stage.
Price led a group that featured several Hernando County players, though formally representing Polk City, that went 2-2 in the Majors (age 17-19) All-Stars World Series at Ozark, Alabama.

Young showing no rust for state champs

Photography Alice Mary Herden

Hernando grad Justin Young pitched for Polk City in the Dixie Majors state tournament two weeks ago. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

It had been a long time since Justin Young had toed a pitching rubber during game action. But on the big stage of a state championship game, he was more than up for the challenge.
“As a competitor, that’s exactly what you want. That’s exactly what I was hoping for, was the ball in the championship game,” Young said. “For my first time in a while, I did just as good as I could do, if not better.”

Old foe haunts Spring Hill 15U

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The Spring Hill Dixie 15U All-Stars in front of Eagle Stadium in Ozark, Ala. during the World Series this weekend. Photo provided

In the end, the Dixie Baseball 15U All-Stars World Series ended the same way as last month’s state tournament for Spring Hill.
The local squad had finished second at states, losing twice to host North Lakeland. Both teams advanced to the World Series, which took place this past weekend in Ozark, Ala.
On Saturday, Spring Hill again found itself facing North Lakeland while facing elimination, and came up short for the third time, 11-1.


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