MARIANNA — The Sebring Machine Pitch All-Stars soared through another very hot day in Marianna at the Dixie Youth AA State Tournament on Monday.
While most parents were off to work on Monday morning, 12 very special boys were off to the ball fields with their parents for a full day of baseball.
Sebring had two games left in pool play before the double-elimination bracket would begin. The team began the day 5-0 and hit the field against Chipley determined to come out 6-0.
The defense started off strong, allowing no runs in the top of the first inning.
Sebring went to work in its first at-bat with an eight-run explosion against the Chipley pitcher.
The boys in blue continued to excel offensively scoring eight runs in the bottom of the second highlighted by an inside-the-park home run by Brad Benton to take a commanding 16-0 lead.
Chipley came up to bat, but the Sebring pitcher made short work of the hitters and the game was called because of the 15-run mercy rule.
In the second game on Monday, Sebring found themselves paired against their neighbors from Hardee County.
Even with the bases loaded, the field was a sea of blue with Hardee’s blue and orange and Sebring’s blue and white jerseys.
Hardee County took the field first and Sebring’s offense got cranked up.
Chase Sevigny singled in his first at-bat of the inning and roped a two-run triple in his second plate appearance in the inning for an 11-0 lead.
Sevigny was a demon on the bases as well with five bags swiped on the day.
Hardee went down in order5 in the first inning.
In the top of the second inning, Rhett Vaughn smacked an inside-the-park home run.
Vaughn, who was 7 for 7 at the plate, had a monster day with the home run, six singles, five RBI and three stolen bases.
Ezera Jackson had a big day with four singles, two doubles and five RBI, and Clayton Evans had four stolen bases, including a theft of home twice.
Sebring scored 14 runs in the second inning and limited Hardee County to one run.
The game was called after the third inning with the 15-run mercy rule with a final score of 25-1.
The two wins gave Sebring a record of 7-0 and seeded them as number one in their pool.
The four teams in each of the two pools who were seeded five through eight were eliminated from the tournament reducing the number of teams from 16 to eight.
Sebring’s first game in the double-elimination bracket was against Wesley Chapel.
Sebring and West Volusia were the only remaining undefeated teams that remained through pool play. First up in Sebring’s bracket was the team seeded number four, Wesley Chapel.
Being seeded number one gave Sebring home field advantage.
They hit the field on defense first and wasted no time showing everyone what this team is best known for, it’s defense.
Wesley Chapel sent three batters to the plate and Sebring sent three back to the dugout.
Sebring got rolling in the bottom of the frame as Jayden Garret had an RBI double and Brody Green bombed the ball to the fence for a double and an RBI.
Five runs were put on the board by the end of the inning.
In the top of the third, Sebring seemed to be working through some jitters and fumbled the ball around a little, allowing two runs to score.
In the bottom of the third all of the butterflies were gone and Sebring was back on their game. Nine runs were scored in the bottom of the third.
Both Zain Carmichael and Aiden Wyatt contributed with doubles and two RBI for Wyatt. At the end of the third inning the score was 14-2.
Wesley Chapel needed to score at least three runs to continue the game. Sebring held them to one run and the game ended after the top of the fourth inning with the 10-run mercy rule with a final score of 14-3. The win advanced Sebring in the winner’s bracket where they played East Lakeland on Tuesday.
Sebring was also scheduled for a second game on Tuesday night.
Results were not available at press time. For the complete story and photos from the games, be sure to read Thursday’s Highlands Today sports section.