The North Carolina (Dunn) All-Stars finished third in the Dixie Youth Majors (12-and-under) World Series in Lumberton, but the season isn’t over for many of the players coached by Charlie Stevens.
Eight members of the team that competed in the district tournament in Raeford, the state tournament in Kenansville and the World Series will be heading to Cooperstown, N.Y., to play in an event at the site of the sport’s Hall of Fame.
Stevens said his team could use some rest after going 16-3 in its progression to the highest level in Dixie.
The World Series run ended with an 8-1 loss to South Carolina on Wednesday night. Anthony Jones returned to the mound after a 4-0 shutout of Mississippi on Monday night and kept the local team in the game for much of the way but the bats were too quiet against a well-stocked South Carolina team from the North Charleston area.
Stevens noted that the South Carolina team was developed from a talent pool of around 200 while Dunn drew from about 40 players.
Wyatt Lucas, Gabe Dapuyen and Jamari Thompson had hits for North Carolina on Wednesday night.
“South Carolina was pretty stout,” Stevens said. “They are a very good team. We ran out of gas. Their No. 2 batter hit two home runs. It was 1-0 in the fourth inning.”
South Carolina was dealt its first loss of the World Series 14-4 by Louisiana on Thursday, but bounced back to win the final game, 9-2.
“I enjoyed every second of every single inning and it was a great honor to coach this team,” Stevens said. “These boys played under a lot of pressure and that experience will help them later. They represented themselves, their families, Dunn and the state of North Carolina very well. … Memories were made that will never be forgotten.”
The core group also won a 10-and-under Dixie state title in 2016.
The team will be getting state championship rings. Stevens is planning a cookout later and he said there will be a game for fun between players and parents.
Next is the trip to Cooperstown. The Carolina Bagboys also include two players from Whiteville as well as Chase Byrd from Swansboro, the son of former Midway player Johnson Byrd.
“We’re glad to get some rest,” Stevens said of the present interim.
The Dunn players will get to use any bat they want at Cooperstown after hitting with restricted bats in Dixie play. Two games are scheduled in pool play each day beginning August 19 for three days. Bracket play starts Wednesday, August 22, and is single elimination.