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The Lancaster Dixie Baseball AA stars are carrying the banner for the local youth baseball program this week as they participate in the Dixie Youth Baseball AA Regional in Walterboro.
The Lancaster AA stars, who are 7-2 in postseason play with a district championship and a state runner-up finish, are the last Lancaster Dixie Baseball all-star team still alive in the playoffs.
“Lancaster Dixie Baseball has had an outstanding season, including five teams to advance to the state tournament, so we’re honored to represent the LDB,” Lancaster Dixie Baseball AA all-stars manager Jimmy Jackson said. “Since we’re the final team still alive, we feel we’re playing for Lancaster Dixie Baseball and those other teams who competed and gave it their best shot before falling.”
The Lancaster Dixie Baseball AA all-stars, ages 7-8, departed Lancaster on Friday and made the trip to Colleton County to participate in the opening ceremonies at the ACE Basin Sports Complex.
“This is an outstanding facility they have here in Walterboro,” Jackson said. “It’s new and all state of the art.”
Jackson said the team enjoyed the opening ceremonies Friday night.
“It’s special being a part of this and it was impressive watching all the teams come in,” Jackson said. “We along with the rest of the teams were also treated to a cookout and a Lowcountry shrimp boil.
“The festivities also included a home run hitting contest and a player from one of the Florida teams hit five home runs in 10 swings,” Jackson said.
Play opened Saturday morning for the Lancaster all-stars with a 9 a.m. pool game with West Seminole Florida, which was the runner-up in the Sunshine State.
“That game was more, or less a warm-up game,” Jackson said. “It’s an exhibition game and doesn’t count in the tournament and is played to give each team a chance to work out some jitters and butterflies. They also play it for each team to have a chance to play on the field and get used to it.”
The Lancaster stars opened play facing George state runner-up, Albany American on Field Poco Sabo on Saturday afternoon.
The double-elimination tournament, which continues through Tuesday, July 30, features games today.
The tournament sports a 12-team field of two S.C. host teams, Colleton and St. George.
Palmetto State teams also include Delmae, Lancaster, Central (Clemson) and Aynor.
Georgia teams are Perry and Albany American. Florida teams are West Volusia and West Seminole. The Alabama entries are Fairhope and Hueytown.
Jackson is confident of his team’s chances.
“We had a couple of good practices before leaving Lancaster,” he said. “The key for our team is to make plays and I feel we will because defense is a strength. At this level, if you throw it around and make errors, it will come back to haunt you.
“I think another key is our team speed,” Jackson said. “All of our players can run and that is going to be a boost.”
The Lancaster all-stars opened the playoffs, rolling to the district title with a 3-0 sweep in Union. In capturing the District Two crown, the Lancaster stars outscored their foes 49-9 and drilled 67 hits in three games at Union’s Timken Park.
Lancaster moved on to the state tournament in Georgetown and went 4-2 and earned the right to advance to the Dixie Youth Baseball AA Regional as the state runner-up. Lancaster fell to Aynor, 7-6 in its state tournament opener and then reeled off four straight wins before falling in the championship round.
“Our players are excited about still playing and having a chance to make some history in this tournament,” Jackson said. “I know they are going to play hard and continue to represent Lancaster Dixie Baseball in a positive way.”
Lancaster Dixie Baseball has had five all-star teams advance to state tournament play.
The Lancaster Dixie Boys 14 all-stars finished as the state runner-up to Sumter, while the Lancaster Dixie Boys 13 all-stars went 1-2 in their respective tournaments in Aiken.
The Lancaster Dixie Baseball AAA all-stars were 2-2 in the state tournament at North Charleston and the Ozone all-stars dropped two games in the state tournament.