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HC Dixie Boys Sweep State Title

The Halifax County Dixie Boys all-stars had not been seriously tested the first four games of the state tournament after four shutout wins. They were tested Tuesday night against Bedford Metro but ultimately passed that test with flying colors to win the Dixie Boys State Tournament title, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 13-6 win.

Tyler Stephens had a triple, double and single for Halifax County and finished with five RBIs, and Seth Elliott went 4-4 at the plate with an RBI.  Chase Wilkerson (RBI) went 3-4 and Ryan Powell was 2-4, while Justin Womack (two RBI’s) added a double and Nick Lewis and Will Harris (two RBI’s) base hits for Halifax, while Michael Watts added an RBI groundout.

Omar Alzaben (double) and Austin Murphy had three hits apiece for Bedford, which finished with 11 hits for the game.

Bedford Metro used its short game to help take a 3-0 lead in its first at-bat, with Murphy and Steven Vernon reaching base on bunt hits to start the game.

Two more sacrifice bunts helped produce the first run of the game, and Bedford plated two more runs on base hits by Luke Raisin and Alzaben and a Halifax error.

Halifax scratched back with a run in the first after a walk to Harris and back-to-back base hits by Elliott and Stephens before taking the lead for good in the second.

Wilkerson, Powell and Lewis hit consecutive singles to start the inning, before Harris hit a two-run single and Stephens a two-run triple.  Womack followed with an RBI double and Wilkerson with an RBI single to make it 7-1.

Each team added a run in the third, Bedford scoring after Alzaben doubled, stole third and came home on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Turner, and Halifax when Tyler Wall reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on an Elliott base hit.

Wilkerson and Powell both singled in the fourth, with Wilkerson later scoring on a wild pitch to make it 10-4, and Halifax added its final three runs in the fifth when Harris reached on an error, Elliott singled and stole second, Stephens hit an RBI double, Womack an RBI sacrifice fly and Watts an RBI groundout.

Bedford added its final two runs in the sixth on consecutive two-out base hits by Austin Rowland, Murphy, Vernon and Bless Jung before Womack, Halifax’s starting pitcher, got a big strikeout to end the inning.

Stephens went to the mound and struck out the first Bedford batter in the top of the seventh inning.  Alzaben singled and Kirk Carson walked for Bedford before Ryan Powell relieved Stephens and struck out the final two batters to seal the win for Halifax.

Womack, who tossed a no-hitter against Bedford on Sunday, finished with 10 strikeouts in six innings in the championship game, and got out of a no-out, bases loaded jam in the fifth inning with two strikeouts and a groundout.

Halifax County manager Tom Harris said after the game he thought Bedford would try and use the short game to get base runners aboard.

“We had already heard they were going to try and bunt the ball, because Justin threw the ball really well against them Sunday night, ”said Harris.

“Bedford has a heck of a team, and we came in a little tight on some of the plays.”

Halifax relaxed and played its game after the first inning, defusing Bedford’s last chance of getting back into the game in the fifth inning, Harris noted.

“We called a timeout and Justin beared down, started getting his location down and hitting his spots.  That’s his whole key, hitting his spots.”

Harris, who helped coach last year’s state champion Halifax County Jr. Boys all-stars is looking forward to a shorter trip to this year’s Dixie Boys World Series starting July 31 in Christiansburg.

Enterprise, Alabama, hosted last year’s Dixie Jr. Boys World Series.

Pitching will be a key and Harris feels he has a solid pitching staff going into the series after noting what it accomplished at the state tourney.

“We’ll take it one game at a time and go from there.”