After raking in two dozen runs on Saturday, Dunn lost some steam and dropped consecutive AAA state tournament games Sunday and Monday in Ash, N.C.
Dunn’s Dixie Youth AAA Baseball All-Stars were eliminated from the state tournament on Monday, after taking its second loss, 4-1, to South Stanley. They fell 4-2 to Boger City on Sunday night.
“The last two nights have been about as good of competition as it gets,” head coach Tommy Daughtry Jr. said. “The opponents that we faced have had very good pitchers. In the last two games, we faced five pitchers. All five have good size and were throwing in the low-to-mid 50s.”
After Saturday’s blow-out win, Daughtry expressed comedic concern about his team using up all of its hits in one game. All 12 players had a hit in the 24-0, three-inning win over host-team Waccamaw.
Yesterday, however, Daughtry debunked that presumption, saying it wasn’t fatigue that undid his all-stars.
“We couldn’t hit the ball well enough to put together runs,” he said. “We had to adjust from the game against Waccamaw, where their pitchers were throwing 10 to 12 mph slower than what we faced the next two nights ... . We couldn’t adjust to it.”
While Waccamaw pitchers were throwing 40-45 mph, Boger City and South Stanley pitchers threw over 50 mph, Daughtry said, “Going from 43 mph to 55 mph ... it makes 55 look like 65.”
He praised both of Dunn’s AAA All-Star opponents, saying their pitchers used control and didn’t walk batters or throw wild pitches.
“That put us in a position — as a ball club — to have to string together two or three hits in a row to score runs,” he said. That can prove challenging at the AAA level. “We didn’t produce enough runs for Dunn to win these close, competitive match ups.”
Even though Daughtry is disheartened by his team’s premature exit from the state tournament, he remains proud of his young baseball team.
“At the end of the day, coach is super proud of his team. They fought every game, from the first pitch to the last,” he said, “We entered with out head high and we exited with our heads high. At the end of the day, Dunn played good baseball. ... It just wasn’t enough to beat the best teams in the state.”
Daughtry thanked Dunn Parks and Recreation for allowing him the opportunity to lead the all-stars into this challenge, calling his players “a great group of young men.”
Said Daughtry, “This was a great experience for everyone involved. We are leaving with a lot of great memories.”