Blythewood Minors headed to World Series

BYBSL Minors win State Championship | Contributed

DILLON – “Play loose” is their motto, and “play loose” they have done.

Just last week, the Blythewood Minors All-Star team played in the state tournament with confidence and poise under pressure, and it showed as they clinched the state title with an undefeated 10-0 record.

For only the third time in Blythewood Youth Baseball Softball League (BYBSL) history, a Blythewood team will represent South Carolina in the Dixie Youth World Series. In 2016, the Blythewood Minors team finished in third place at the World Series; in 2017, the Machine Pitch team finished as runner-up after a 1-run loss to Mississippi.

For this team, representing South Carolina in the World Series has been a long time coming. Literally, according to head coach Marshall Dinkins.

Dinkins says the road to the 2022 World Series actually started four years ago. When these players were just seven-years-old, players, parents and coaches committed to hours of baseball weekly, year-round with this goal in mind.

With the league’s 2022 season starting in February, Lucas Baker, Walker Blackwelder, Ryan Bottar, Skyler Cruz, Cooper Dinkins, Camron Lloyd, Carter McCune, Pierce O’Donnell, Tyler Vincent, Greyson Von Plinsky, Jacob Waters and Dayton Wilburn have been on this journey for six months straight.

“Lots of hot weather,” Dinkins said, “…sweating through summer five-days a week, multiple tournaments. It’s really a credit of a long, four-year commitment of players, parents and coaches.”

Dinkins says that part of the team’s success is due to the outstanding support from the community.

“We’ve had a huge outpouring of love and support. It means so much to all of us,” he said. “That’s what’s so special about this team – all of these kids are homegrown.”

Blythewood’s league is special in itself. It was built on the backs of involved parents and community members with a genuine love for the game. So when Dinkins says the journey to the World Series is a shared dream, he means it.

He credits much of the shared-dream-come-true to assistant coaches Matt O’Donnell, Justin Blackwelder and Fred Cruz.

Dinkins says this team is the complete package – he describes them as resilient with strong offense and defense and a real depth in the bullpen. Depth, it seems, is exactly what they have. After all, how many teams clinch a state title by outscoring their opponents 108-14 in ten games?

“Every game has had different heroes involved,” Dinkins says. “Everybody stepped up at different moments throughout the tournament. If one player was down, the others stepped up. It takes all 12 players to make it work.”

Blythewood 6, Hilton Head 1

After going 4-0 in the district tournament, the Minors started their trek to becoming South Carolina’s team on July 10 with a 6-1 win over Hilton Head in Dillon.

O’Donnell led the team at the plate against Hilton Head. He batted 3-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Bottar, Blackwelder (2B), Waters, Dinkins, and Vincent all had hits in the win.

O’Donnell also picked up the win on the mound. He faced 11 batters in 3.1 innings pitched, allowed only one hit and struck out three batters. Waters worked 2.2 innings from the mound. He allowed two hits and struck out three in 14 batters faced.

Blythewood 8, Hartsville Northern 4

Blythewood faced a bigger battle in game two against Hartsville Northern on July 17. Down 4-2 in the fourth, Blythewood rallied to plate six runs for an 8-4 win.

Blackwelder got the start on the mound for Blythewood. He allowed six hits and four runs over three innings, striking out one. Lloyd finished out the game. In 9 batters faced, he allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out one.

Vincent and Lloyd had doubles in the win. Blackwelder, O’Donnell, Wilburn and Cruz all singled in the game. Cruz led the team with 3 RBIs.

Blythewood 13, Dillon 3

 Blythewood faced Dillon in the third round of the tournament. They went up 4-0 in the top of the first and never looked back as they took a decisive 13-3 win in five innings. 

Waters batted 4-4 with a double and seven RBIs and two runs scored. Blackwelder went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. O’Donnell went 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Bottar, Wilburn and Dinkins also had hits. Bottar scored three runs; Baker scored two; Lloyd, Dinkins and Cruz all added another run.

Wilburn, O’Donnell and Dinkins pitched a combined five innings. In nine batters faced, Wilburn allowed four hits and two runs (1 earned). He struck out one and walked two. O’Donnell faced seven batters. He walked three and struck out one. In two innings of work, Dinkins allowed two hits, one run and struck out one.

Blythewood 14, Greer 0

Lloyd, Bottar and Wilburn threw a four-inning no-hitter against Greer in the fourth round of the state tournament.

Eight Minors combined for 14 hits in the 14-0 win. Waters, Vincent, O’Donnell, Bottar and Wilburn all managed multiple hits. Waters led the team batting 3-3, include a double. O’Donnell tallied a triple; Blackwelder added a double. Cruz and Baker also singled.

Bottar, Blackwelder, Waters, O’Donnell, Wilburn, Vincent, Lloyd, and Von Plinsky all scored runs.

Blythewood 2, Greenwood 1

In perhaps the biggest thriller of their tournament season, Blythewood took their round 5 win against Greenwood in walk-off fashion.

According to Dinkins, it was a defensive battle with both teams missing opportunities to put the game to bed.

O’Donnell, Dinkins and Waters combined efforts on the mound in the extra-inning game.

O’Donnell pitched the first two innings. He allowed three hits, one run and struck out four. In to relieve O’Donnell, Dinkins threw four no-run innings. He allowed seven hits and struck out three. In true dramatic fashion, Waters came on in the seventh with the bases loaded and the game tied at 1-1 and struck out three in a row to end the inning.

In the bottom of the frame, Lloyd led off with a single to left, then McCune came in with a walk-off double to right that scored Lloyd and advanced Blythewood to the Championship game.

Blythewood 7, Greer 0

After a scoreless first, Blythewood put up three runs in the second inning and three in the third to take a 6-0 lead over Greer. They tacked on an extra in the bottom of the fifth and held Greer scoreless in the sixth to end the game and clinch the state title.

Blackwelder, Wilburn and Dinkins all had two hits in the win. Waters batted 1-3 with a triple and two RBIs. O’Donnell, Lloyd, Vincent and Baker each singled.

Waters worked five innings on the mound. He allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out 10. Blackwelder closed the game for Blythewood. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two.

Blythewood hoists the State Championship flag after clinching the title with a 10-0 record.

DYB World Series

Now South Carolina’s team, Blythewood will head to Lumberton, North Carolina for a 3:15 p.m. game on August 6 against Louisiana. The winner will face the winner of Florida/Mississippi in the double-elimination tournament.  Eleven teams stand between Blythewood and the World Series trophy.

For now, it’s back to preparing so they can “play loose” in Lumberton.

Follow Blythewood’s journey on Facebook (Blythewood Youth Baseball Softball League) or through livestream on Gamechanger (Blythewood Minors All Stars). The tournament runs Aug. 6 – 11.

The team is fund raising to offset costs for the trip, and still in need of $5,000.

Donations are accepted through Go Fund Me, or you can contact Savannah Wilburn (915-345-6619) to donate with cash or check. 

Back Row: Assistant Matt O’Donnell, Head Coach Marshall Dinkins, Assistant Justin Blackwelder; Middle: Walker Blackwelder, Pierce O’Donnell, Jacob Waters, Camron Lloyd, Carter McCune, Dayton Wilburn; Front: Skyler Cruz, Ryan Bottar, Lucas Baker, Tyler Vincent, Cooper Dinkins, Greyson Von Plinsky


  1. Jim and Carole Pate says

    So proud of these boys. They play so well together and support each other both on and off the field. See you in Lumberton. Go, Blythewood!!!

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