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Halifax falls in Pre-Majors title game

The Halifax County Dixie Pre-Majors all-star team absorbed just about everything Carroll County could throw at it in Wednesday night’s final round of the Virginia Dixie Pre-Majors State Baseball Tournament at C.H. Friend Field.

With its back against the wall with one loss in the double-elimination tournament, Halifax County edged Carroll County 13-10 to force the tournament into an extra game. 

Carroll County built leads of 5-3 and 8-4 only to have Halifax County plate three runs in the sixth inning to make it a one-run game heading into the final inning. 

Halifax County managed to get two runners in scoring position with two out in the bottom of the final inning, but Carroll County relief hurler Blake Wood got a much-needed strikeout to end the game to preserve an 8-7 win.

With the win Carroll County earned a berth in the Dixie Pre-Majors World Series to be played July 28 through August 1 in Guntersville, Ala.

“I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys,” said Halifax County Manager Dennis Lewis.

“They came in with their backs against the wall against a real good Carroll County team and beat the best pitching they had. They threw everything at us but the kitchen sink. We hung in there to put ourselves in position to play that second game.

“Carroll County is a good ballclub,” added Lewis.

“My hat goes off to them. I wish them the best of luck in the World Series. I just wish we were going instead.”

Carroll County manager Larry Snow also praised the Halifax County effort.

“They did a heck of a job,” Snow pointed out.

“They put forth a great effort all three times they played us. It was a great tournament.”

Halifax County got off to a good start in the deciding game, scoring a run in each of the first two innings to take a 2-0 lead. The lead was short-lived as Carroll County’s Brandon Lineberry laced a two-run homer into left centerfield in the top of the third inning to tie the game at 2-2.

Carroll County scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning and jumped on top 5-2. Two of the runs came on a two-RBI double to leftfield by Lineberry. 

Halifax County answered with a run on a run-scoring single by Nick Anderson in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 5-3.

Trailing 8-4, Halifax County got itself back into contention with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, two of them coming on a triple by Nick Lewis, to cut the deficit to one run at 8-7 with an inning to play.

Halifax County made a valiant attempt to deadlock the game but couldn’t muster a run. With two out, Andrew McCann reached base on an error. Nick Anderson reached base on an error and both players got an extra base on the play to put runners at second base and third base.

The team’s last-ditch opportunity came up short when Lewis, who had gotten a hit in his previous trip to the plate, went down on strikes to end the game.

Halifax County had 13 hits in the game, with Nick Anderson going 4-5 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs. Adrian Moran was 3-3 with one run scored and one RBI and McCann was 3-4 at the plate with one run scored.

Lewis had two hits and Andrew Hamlett had one hit.

Carroll County had six hits and took advantage of four Halifax County errors. Lineberry had two hits including his home run and four RBIs to lead the Carroll County effort.

Wednesday’s opening game was a see-saw battle that saw both teams score in each of the first four innings.

The game was deadlocked at 8-8 when Halifax County broke the game open with five runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 13-8 lead. A two-RBI hit by Tyler Wall and run-scoring hits by McCann and Nick Anderson helped spur the Halifax County rally.

Carroll County scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning and added another in the bottom of the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough as Halifax County held on for the 13-10 win to force an extra game for the state title.

Both teams had 12 hits in the game. Halifax County had two hits each from Nick Anderson, McCann, Jacob New, Moran and Chase Wilkerson. Wall and Elijah Hudson had one hit each.

Halifax County also got help from seven Carroll County errors in the game.

Carroll County’s Ryan Gravley led his team offensively with three hits. Bronson Bowman, Matthew Snow and Wood each chipped in two hits.