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Ozone NL wins district

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Title team rebounds to down York

By Robert Howey

 

GAFFNEY – The Lancaster Dixie Baseball Ozone National League all-stars, ages 11-12, did it the hard way, but accomplished the diamond mission.

The Ozone Nationals, needing one win to capture the Dixie Youth Baseball District 2 championship, were forced to a second game, but came through with a 14-6 win over York to notch the crown.

York, which entered the game with one loss in the double-elimination tournament, took a 17-16 win in the championship round opener Thursday, June 26 at the Gaffney Youth Sports Complex in Gaffney.

York scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the one-run win in the high-scoring seesaw game to force a decisive game two.

Lancaster NL responded to take a 14-6 comeback win.

York took an early 2-1 lead, but Lancaster National steadily rallied to capture the win. Lancaster built a 10-2 edge before taking the eight-run win.

Pitcher Luke Faulkenberry aided the Lancaster win, going the distance and striking out seven York batters.

“We gave the ball to Luke and were looking to get three innings from him, but he just got stronger and stronger as the game wore on,” Lancaster NL coach Jimmy Jackson said. “Luke came through for us and we played pretty good defense behind him.

“His effort was clutch because we had used a good bit of our pitching.”

Faulkenberry backed the NL cause with a hit and one RBI.

Lancaster Nationals catcher Russell Noland, 7-7 for the two games with York in the championship round, was 3-3 for the second game to lead the winners.

Jarron Taylor, 6-7 for the two games with York, supplied two hits and drove in three runs.

Steven Ledbetter drilled two hits and drove in a run, while Caleb Payne had two singles.

Brayden Phillips had a hit and two RBIs. Gavin Blackmon added a hit.

In the opener, Toot Curry smashed a grand slam for the Lancaster Nationals.

District 2 will field two teams in the Ozone state tournament, champion Lancaster NL and York, the district runner-up.

Lancaster American, 2-2 in the tourney which opened Saturday, June 21, finished third in district play.

The Dixie Youth Baseball Ozone state tournament is slated for July 12-17 at Byerley Park in Hartsville.

Lancaster National, 4-1 in postseason play, is slated to face the District V champion from the Pee Dee area on opening day at 8 p.m.

Lancaster Dixie Baseball all-stars teams were also in action this weekend in tourneys.

The 6U all-stars opened play in the District 2 tournament in Union on Saturday, June 28.

The AAA all-stars, ages 9-10, played at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28 in the District 2 tournament in Union where the tournament runs through July 3.

The Dixie Youth AA National League all-stars, ages 7-8, who won the District 2 tournament in Lancaster on June 18, ventured to Florence to play in the state tournament at Greenwood Park at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 28.