The North Myrtle Beach Parks and Recreation Department 11 and 12 year-old All-Star team made it all the way to the final game of the Dixie Youth State Championship Tournament before losing 6-2 to Edgefield County to end their dream of going to the Dixie Youth World Series.
North Myrtle Beach got to the finals by beating Greenwood 6-1 in their first game, then beating Hartsville 12-0. They lost their third game to Edgefield County by a 7-1 score, then qualified for the finals with an 11-10 win last Wednesday over Union County, which sent them into the final game Thursday morning against Edgefield County in the blistering heat at Bluffton.
North Myrtle Beach’s coach Joe Reeves stated that he was hoping for a title. “We were real confident of our guys and felt we had a good chance to win it this year. We only had two twelve year-olds last year and we got to the final six team. With an older squad I was hoping to go all the way. We also were deep in pitching and I was hoping to get another crack at Edgefield County with a win but we just didn’t hit last Thursday,” Reeves said.
And the heat? “It was close to 100 degrees on Thursday but it was hot for them too. Our bats didn’t show up, so the heat isn’t an excuse. We played a very good team and just came up short. I am happy to be the first North Myrtle Beach team to get this far in the state tournament. I am very proud of our guys for doing something no other team has done,” Reeves said.
Coach Reeves also spoke about how competitive the tournament was. “The state Dixie Youth director said it was the most competitive tournament that the state has put together, top to bottom, and that any team could have won it. We didn’t give up and our boys played their hearts out. We were fortunate to make it to the finals. This group gave up a lot to play baseball. While other kids have had a vacation, we have been together as a team for almost two months. That takes a lot of commitment and dedication,” Reeves said.
Like many coaches the talk goes back to baseball, the game. “Baseball is a crazy sport. Some days the ball looks like a beach ball and the next day a golf ball. Coming back from the game I know I replayed the game in my head 100 times. I thought of one or two plays where a hit here or a play there could have turned the whole game around. The dynamic of the game makes it what it is. It’s baseball. That’s why you play the game,” Reeves said.
Reeves ended the interview by focusing on his team. “They dedicated their time and effort to this. They played all season, started practicing for the district, won that and then put in the effort to practice more for this tournament. Despite the second-place finish they have had a great experience and learned a lot from it. It’s something most boys don’t experience and I know they will never forget it,” Reeves concluded.