Barnwell’s title run ends in District Finals
The Barnwell Minor League baseball All-Stars enjoyed an inspiring run in the Dixie District VI tournament last week in Graniteville.
In a field consisting of eight-teams, the Barnwell All-Stars sparkled on the diamond, winning three games and advancing to the championship round.
Unfortunately for the Barnwell All-Stars, despite a gutsy performance in the title game, they were unable to bring home the crown as they fell in a heartbreaker to Orangeburg by a score of 10-9.
Barnwell seemingly had the game under control leading by seven runs going into the bottom of the third inning.
Barnwell, however, wasn’t able to maintain its advantage as Orangeburg rallied to tie the game at seven before scoring the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning for the win.
Barnwell coach Blake Austin said the players played their hearts out.
“I’m super proud of this team. We had a good run, but came up just short at the end,” Austin said. “In the championship game, we got off to a terrific start. From there, things just kind of fell apart.”
In the title game, the Barnwell All-Stars had top-seeded Orangeburg on the ropes early behind the pitching of Cameron Austin.
Austin was in ace form as he simply overwhelmed Orangeburg hitters, striking out the first six batters he faced.
Meanwhile, at the plate, the Barnwell hitters were getting the best of Orangeburg’s pitching. In the first inning, Barnwell hammered out four hits with Micah Bradley and Paxton Wall scoring runs for a 2-0 lead. Cameron Austin and Trey Boleman were credited with RBIs in the inning.
Ahead by two runs, Barnwell went for the knockout punch in the third inning. Fueled by a two-run RBI single by Paxton Wall, Barnwell erupted for five runs off four hits for a 7-0 lead. Others scoring in the inning included Jackson Hutto, Jayson Clark, Cameron Austin and Jayden Pierce.
Down by seven runs, Orangeburg came fighting back in the bottom of the third inning. For the team, Jaylen Hill and Jalen Aringer singled and scored to narrow the lead to 7-2.
In the fourth inning, Orangeburg continued its comeback. This time, the team plated five runs off three hits and two errors to tie the game at 7-7.
The momentum continued on Orangburg’s side one inning later with the team taking its first lead off the game at 9-7 off runs by Walt Mims and Xavior Glover.
Down, but not out, Barnwell battled back in the top of the sixth inning. Hayden Pierce led with a walk, then advanced to third off a double by Trey Boleman. One batter later, Jayden Pinkney belted a two-run RBI double to tie the game at 9-9.
Barnwell’s celebration, however, was short-lived. Orangeburg answered in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Colin Wolfe ripped a single, scoring Walt Mims for the winning run.
“It was a tough loss, but it was also a good learning experience for our kids. We accomplished a lot in this tournament. It gives us a lot to build on next season,” said Austin.