NAKINA – Whiteville Optimist rallied for 5 runs in the top of the sixth inning to defeat Bladen County 11-7 Sunday in the opening round of the Dixie Youth Baseball District 2 AAA (Minors) Tournament.
Bladen County will play again Tuesday at 6 p.m. against the South Columbus/Riegelwood winner.
After Whiteville scored 2 runs in the top of the first, Bladen County answered with a run in the home half. Aidan Russ led off with a single, and Conner Monroe, Hezikiah Adams and Cade Allen followed with consecutive hits that scored Russ.
Bladen County took a 4-2 lead with 3 runs in the second. Xavier Spaulding walked, Hunter White was hit by a pitch, and De’Anthony Smith walked to load the bases. Chason Harris blasted a 3-run triple that cleaned the bases, but Harris was thrown out at the plate.
Bladen County stretched the lead to 7-2 in the third inning. Matthew Kemp and Russ belted singles to start the inning. Monroe cracked a single that scored Kemp, and Allen hammered a 2-run triple that plated Russ and Monroe.
Whiteville trimmed the margin to 7-4 in the fourth, and Bladen County squandered a Russ double and singles by Smith and Harris in the fourth. Whiteville sliced the Bladen lead to 7-6 in the fifth, and Allen slugged another triple in the Bladen fifth but was left at third base.
“We played a great game,” said Bladen Coach Joseph Russ. Hunter White went the distance on the mound for us.”
Aidan Russ batted 4-4 with a double and 2 runs scored. Allen finished 3-3 at the plate with 2 triples and 3 runs batted in. Harris crushed the 3-run triple and was 2-2 for the game.
Monroe was 2-4 with an rbi and a run scored. Adams belted an rbi single, and Smith and Kemp added one hit each. Kemp, Smith, White, and Spaulding scored one run each.