Blythewood All-Stars to play for World Series title on Thursday

Blythewood has outscored their World Series opponents 50-4 in only four games. | Photos: Contributed

LUMBERTON, NC – After a scary first inning in their opening game of the Dixie Youth World Series, South Carolina’s AAA All-Star team, formerly Blythewood All-Stars, showed up in a big way.

The SC All-Stars took the field on Saturday against Louisiana to open the World Series and worked a quick three-up, three-down in the top of the first.

Batting second in the line-up, first baseman Walker Blackwelder stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the frame with one out. On a 1-0 count, everything changed for Blackwelder. The next pitch hit him in the eye, fracturing multiple bones and leaving him with a concussion.

After six months of dedication with a World Series title in mind and years working together as a team to get to this point, Blackwelder’s injury was a heartbreaking loss for him and the team.

Earlier this summer in the first game of the South Carolina tournament, Carter McCune, the team’s starting catcher was too sick to play and Blackwelder helped fill the void left by McCune. This time, it was Blackwelder’s void that was left to be filled.

And if they lacked any motivation, their devotion to Blackwelder and to each other may be what pushed them over the top.

As of late Wednesday, the team remains as the only undefeated team in the Division 1 AAA World Series and have outscored their opponents 50-4 in just a four-game stretch.

They’ll square off with Alabama tomorrow in the World Series title game at 10 a.m.  Follow along at or on Game Changer (Blythewood Minors All Stars).

Blythewood 12, Louisiana 2

After Blackwelder’s injury, Blythewood went three-and-out. Louisiana remained scoreless through two, but Blythewood lit it up in the second inning.

Pierce O’Donnell doubled to lead off. A Dayton Wilburn bunt put runners on first and third with no outs. Carter McCune doubled on a hard grounder to left, scoring one. With one out, Cam Lloyd homered on a 1-0 pitch to put SC up 4-0.

Camron Lloyd with his home run ball.

Tyler Vincent, Skyler Cruz, and Greyson Von Plinsky followed with singles to load the bases. A failed squeeze bunt gave SC their second out, but Ryan Bottar was hit by a pitch to score Cruz from third. Another single scored SC’s sixth run, then a triple line drive to left off the bat of Waters put SC up 9-0 before ending the inning.

Louisiana added one run in the third, but Blythewood responded with three more in the bottom of the inning to lead 12-1.

No match for the SC team, Louisiana took the 2-12 loss and moved to the elimination bracket. SC advanced to round two against Mississippi on Sunday.

O’Donnell worked 2.2 innings on the mound. He walked two, struck out one, and allowed only one hit and one run. Lloyd pitched 1.1 innings. He struck out two, walked one and allowed one run.

LA – 0-0-1-1-X-X-X – 2, 1, 1

SC – 0-9-3-X-X-X-X – 12, 12, 1

WP: O’Donnell

Hitters: Bottar 1-2, 2 RBI. Waters 1-2, 2 RBI. O’Donnell 1-3, 2B. Wilburn 2-2. McCune 1-1, 2B, RBI. Lloyd 2-2, HR, 4 RBI. Vincent 1-2. Cruz 2-3, 2RBI. Von Plinsky 1-1.

Blythewood 15, Mississippi 0

Still reeling from their opening round win, Blythewood shut out Mississippi in Sunday’s game with a 15-0 final.

Blythewood put up five runs in the top of the first and left Mississippi stranded with two runners on, unable to answer the 5-0 lead.

The All-Stars added three more in the second, five in the third and two in the fourth to hold off Mississippi for the 15-0 win.

Wilburn, Jacob Waters, and McCune all had multiple RBI games. O’Donnell, Dinkins, Lloyd, Lucas Baker and Landon Gilchrist all tallied an RBI reach.

Jacob Waters with his home run ball.

Waters homered in the win. Gilchrist had a triple, and McCune, Wilburn and McCune had doubles.

Waters got the start and win. He pitched four innings, struck out four, walked one and allowed only four hits.

With their second win, Blythewood had Monday off while elimination games continued. When they returned to the field Tuesday to take on Alabama, they were ready.

SC – 5-3-5-2-X-X-X – 15, 13, 0

MISS – 0-0-0-0-X-X-X – 0, 4, 3

WP: Waters

Hitters: Bottar 1-3. Wilburn 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Waters 3-4, HR, 3 RBI. O’Donnell 1-1, RBI. Dinkins 2-3, 2B, RBI. McCune 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI. Lloyd 1-3, RBI. Landon G 2-3, 3B, RBI. Von Plinsky 1-2.

Blythewood 12, Alabama 1

Another day, another big first inning of playing loose put the SC All-Stars in good position against the Alabama All-Star squad.

Up 4-0, Blythewood plated four more runs in the top of the third to extend their lead 8-0. Alabama added one in the bottom of the third to chip away at the lead, but Blythewood shut out all prospects in the top of the fourth.

The added four more to go up 12-1 and held Alabama scoreless to end their third game in a row early with the mercy rule.

O’Donnell returned to the mound. He allowed three hits, one run, walked one and struck out two in three innings. Vincent closed out the game in the fourth.

Gilchrist, Waters, O’Donnell, and McCune all had multi-hit games again. O’Donnell and Gilchrist both doubled in the win.

SC – 4-0-4-4-X-X-X – 12, 11, 1

AL – 0-0-1-0-X-X-X – 1, 3, 5

WP: O’Donnell

Hitters: Gilchrist 2-3, 2B. Bottar 1-1, RBI. Waters 2-3, RBI. O’Donnell 3-3, 2B, 4 RBI. Wilburn 1-3, RBI. McCune 2-3, 2 RBI.

Blythewood 11, Virginia 1

Wednesday’s late afternoon game against Virginia followed the same pattern. Blythewood took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Virginia responded quickly with one run in the bottom of the first.

With their closest lead so far in the World Series, Blythewood heated up the bats and went to work. The SC team added two runs in the second, two in the third, and two in the fourth to hold an 8-1 lead heading into the fifth.

They added three insurance runs in the top of the sixth and held Virginia scoreless to take the 11-1 win.

Fifteen hits in the game were spread among Gilchrist, Bottar, Waters, O’Donnell, Wilburn, McCune, Lloyd, who doubled in the win, Vincent and Von Plinsky.

Wilburn got the win on the mound. He threw two innings, allowing one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out two. Lloyd faced 11 batters in 2.2 innings. He allowed only one hit and struck out two. Dinkins closed out the game on the mound.

The win advances Blythewood to the title game against Alabama at 10 a.m. Follow along at or on Game Changer (Blythewood Minors All Stars).

SC – 2-2-2-2-0-3-X – 11, 15, 1

VA– 1-0-0-0-0-0-X – 1, 3, 5

WP: Wilburn

Hitters: Gilchrist 3-4, RBI. Bottar, 1-3. Waters 1-3. O’Donnell 2-3, RBI. Wilburn 2-4, RBI. McCune 1-2, RBI. Lloyd 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI. Vincent 1-3. Von Plinslky 1-1.

Related: Blythewood Minors headed to World Series; Town hosts send-off for BW All-Stars

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