TEXARKANA, ARK. — The Sebring All-Stars, now known as Team Florida, were welcomed by rain and cool temperatures to the Dixie Youth AA World Series in Texarkana, Ark. on Friday.
Opening day skills events had to be cancelled, but luckily opening ceremonies were scheduled indoors. Our hometown boys joined 23 other teams representing a total of 11 states and one host team.
The first-ever Dixie Youth AA World Series is comprised of 12 machine pitch teams and 12 coach pitch teams.
Friday was to start the first day of games, but due to the excess of rain, the fields had to be dried off and prepared for play.
Helicopters hovered over the fields to help in the drying process for pool play to begin in each division.
The first three games of the day for each division had to be skipped.
Games resumed their regular schedule and missed games from the morning were moved to today.
With Team Florida skipping its first game, they were ready for action and rallied for an exciting 9-8 victory over Team Tennessee.
Team Florida displayed its sterling defense in the top of the first inning with a nifty double-play to end a scoring threat by the boys from the Volunteer State.
The Sebring offense failed to produce any runs and Tennessee managed to score three runs in the top of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead.
Team Florida got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning when Aiden Wyatt plated a run with ground out and another run scored to make it 3-2.
In the top of the third inning, Florida’s defense made some uncharacteristic errors and Tennessee took full advantage by scoring a pair of runs for a 5-2 lead.
Both teams scored a run in the fourth inning to make it 6-3.
Tennessee went on the attack in the top of the fifth inning with two more runs to take a seemingly safe 8-3 lead.
Team Florida showed plenty of resolve by answering in the bottom of the inning as Austin Joiner got things started with a two-run triple to right field and Cody Littlefield and Clayton Evans belted RBI doubles to pull the boys in blue within 8-7 with one inning remaining to play.
Team Florida’s defense hit the field in the top of the sixth with new-found energy and held Tennessee scoreless to set the stage for a comeback.
A leadoff single was followed up by a double from Brody Green to put runners in scoring position.
Aiden Wyatt tied the game up with a fielder’s choice ground out which moved the winning run to third base with one out.
Zain Carmichael stepped into the box and singled up the middle to score Green with the winning run for a thrilling 9-8 win.
The second day of pool play was Saturday, and Team Florida was scheduled to play three games against Alabama, host team Texarkana and South Carolina.
Results from the games were not available at press time but for the complete story and photos, be sure to read Monday’s Highlands Today sports section.