Barnwell Minor Leaguers celebrate wins

First Byline: 
Michael Young-Sports Editor

The Barnwell Minor Leaguers (10 to 11-year-olds) breezed past the competition during the first two rounds of Dixie All-Star baseball tournament at Gardens Park in Orangeburg.
For the Barnwell All-Stars, it was a dominating performance as they crushed Orangeburg and Midland Valley by a combined score of 25-4.
Barnwell head coach Britt Pender said the team came out with a lot of energy.
"I'm very proud of the effort the first two games. Hopefully we can maintain our momentum," Pender said. "Offensively, I couldn't have asked for better play. Everyone throughout the lineup swung the bat well. Our pitching was strong and, defensively, we didn't commit many errors."
On Saturday in the opening round against Orangeburg, Barnwell's bats went to work early.
Clay Pender got the troops going with a lead off double. Two batters later, Barnwell was on the scoreboard thanks a RBI single by Jayme "Peanut" Still.
In the second inning, Barnwell added to its advantage by reeling off five runs off four hits and two errors for a 6-0 lead.
For Barnwell, Clay Pender and Bubba Helmick both came up big at the plate with RBI doubles. Others who had hits and scored included Noland Boney, Bryce Pinkney and C.J. Gunnells.
Leading 7-1 in the fifth inning, Barnwell exploded for eight runs. Jayme "Peanut" Still sparked the scoring in the inning with a two-run homer.
Several other stepping up at the plate included Russell Branch and Hoyt Bailey with RBI doubles.
McConnell Burdette, Trevor Black, C.J. Gunnells, Steven Lott, Noland Boney all reached on a single and scored.
On the mound, Russell Branch silenced the bats of Orangeburg, recording five strikeouts in three innings of work.
Players standing out defensively for Barnwell included Weston Sandifer, Bubba Helmick, Bryce Pinkney, Trevor Black and Clay Pender.
On Sunday against Midland Valley, Barnwell continued its superb play in a 10-3 win.
The Barnwell All-Stars, who led 6-3 after four innings, broke the game wide open in the fifth inning with four runs off five hits.
Bubba Helmick delivered the biggest blow in the inning with a two-run RBI double.
"We had a chance to put the game away early, but made mistakes," Britt Pender said. "Fortunately, we bounced back with a big inning to put the game away."
The victory was also paved by the pitching of Barnwell. Midland Valley hitters struggled to get on track all game.
Midland Valley had only one multi-hitter as Barnwell's bullpen led by Clay Pender, Russell Branch and Hoyt Bailey combined for a four-hitter with seven strikeouts.
"Very good performance by our pitchers. They did a good job of keeping their hitters off balance," Britt Pender said.
Offensively, it was another strong performance at the plate for Barnwell.
The team pounded out 12 hits, highlighted by a two-run homer by Hoyt Bailey in the fourth inning.
Also leading the hitting parade for Barnwell were Clay Pender, C.J. Gunnells, Bubba Helmick and Russell Branch with two hits apiece.