Dixie Youth Baseball Opens Season with Major and Minor League Action

April 13, 2012

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ mascot, Splash, throws a pitch as Dixie Youth players watch. (Photos by Johnnie Daniels/THE DILLON HERALD.)

By Lonnie Turner

The 2012 Kiwanis Dixie Youth Baseball Program hit the ground running Monday evening with opening ceremonies and two games featuring Minor League and Major League youngsters.

“Splash”, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans mascot, was a big hit during player introductions with his antics and high-fiving as each player individually entered the field. At first the younger set, ages 4-6, were just a tad reluctant to run out to this big bird, but eventually, he won their hearts and the show was on. A total of 294 children were introduced, with over 100 players representing the 10-team T-Ball League Program that will be supervised by the City of Dillon Recreation Department at the City Sports Complex.

Dillon’s Kwinton Smith throws out the traditional first pitch while Jamie Callahan watches. Callahan also threw out a pitch to open the Dixie Youth season. Both Wildcats grew up playing Kiwanis Dixie Youth baseball and have signed on to play for the University of South Carolina next year.

As an added treat to the fans, two of our former Dixie Youth players were on hand to toss out the traditional first pitch following comments and a prayer by the Reverend John Bumgardner and the National Anthem sung by his wife, Kathryn. Jamie Callahan and Kwinton Smith, who both got their start at the over 50-year old Kiwanis facility, have signed to enter the University of South Carolina in the fall. Jamie will pitch for the Gamecocks and Kwinton is going to try at two sports, baseball and football. “Splash” also was asked to throw a pitch to the delight of all the youngsters.

Following the opening, the Minor League McLeod Health Marlins won the first game of the season with a 9-3 decision over the Pepsi Cola Blue Jays and the James Lockamy Justice Rangers eked out a 1-0 win over the Cotton’s Grocery Reds in a classic pitcher’s duel in the Major League opener.

Knox Jackson was perfect at the plate for the Marlins with three hits, including a double and a pair of RBIs to lead both teams, while Tristian Brigman threw a one-hitter on the mound through three innings, striking out nine. The Marlins broke the game wide open with five runs in the fourth inning and added three more in the fifth. Also with hits for the winners were Trent Johnson, Chandler Matthews and Austin Coward. Nick Evans doubled to start the third for the Blue Jays, but was left stranded at third base when Brigman struck out the side. The only run for the Pepsi team came when Chris Hunt reached base on an error and later scored on a throwing miscue.

Ereck Eck and Jon-Mitchell Carter locked horns in the 1-0 Rangers win over the Reds with a combined total of 27 strikeouts through the six-inning contest. The lone run came as a result of a walk to lead-off batter Ross Carlyle and a throwing error. From that point, Carter whiffed 14 and walked three, giving up four hits, all singles. Eck allowed only one hit, a one-out single by Michael Minges, also in the first inning, and got 13 on strikes while issuing three bases on balls. The victorious Rangers were led at the plate by Eck, Tristan Watson, Evan Paul and Za’ac Lampley, all with singles.

Reverend John Bumgardner provided opening comments and prayer, and his wife, Kathryn, sang the National Anthem.

In Tuesday’s two Minor League games, the Marlins became the first two-game winners with an 11-1, four-inning win over the True Value Tigers and the Physicians Healthcare Pirates flexed their muscles with a 17-0 win over the Blue Jays.

Trent Johnson was the leader with two hits and the pitching win for the Marlins, allowing no hits while walking only one in three innings of work on the mound. He struck out eight Tigers. Zavian Tyson singled for the Tigers and scored in the fourth inning to avoid the shutout. Collin Hamilton pitched the final inning for the Marlins and singled in two trips to the plate. Knox Jackson continued his hot hitting pace with a single in two times at bat. Also with base hits were Chandler Matthews and Austin Coward.

Jared Ivey was two-for-two at the plate to lead the Marlins in their win over the Blue Jays and threw no-hit ball through two innings on the mound to get the win. Others with hits for the Marlins were Noah Carter (triple), Nathan Hyler (triple), Jared Darmon (double) and two-run singles by Jackson Elrod and Josh Brown. Noah Carter pitched the final two innings striking out five of the six batters that he faced to complete the no-hitter.

(Photos by Johnnie Daniels/THE DILLON HERALD. Click images below to view at full size!)

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