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Scoot, Chinquapin and Booger. Bubba, Grasshopper and Train. The nicknames were almost as good as the baseball. And for a bunch of kids, some of whom still count their age in the single digits, the baseball was pretty darn good.
Galax came out on top in competitive outings against two Carroll County teams on the final two days of play to win the Dixie Youth District 1 Minors tournament Tuesday at Mountain View Park. The host team will now hit the road, advancing to the state tournament for 9- and 10-year-olds in South Hill beginning July 20.
Monday’s final four action began with a trio of one-loss teams, Carroll National, Carroll American and Wythe West, and undefeated Galax. Carroll National, which had lost in extra innings to Galax on the second day of play, was three outs away from sending Galax into the ranks of the once-defeated, taking a 5-0 lead into the sixth and final inning before the host team strung together a remarkable comeback, then recorded another extra-inning win, this one by a 6-5 count, over its easterly neighbors.
Matthew Marshall and Austin Keene scored with none out in the top of the second inning to break a scoreless tie for Carroll National, and Justin Stone, Ian Herman and Brandon Martin added one-out runs in the top of the third to boost the lead to 5-0.
Martin started on the mound and retired the first eight Galax batters he faced, and was cruising along until a rain delay interrupted play in the middle of the sixth. Galax found some energy in the 30-minute delay and scored five runs with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game when Kolby Barnes scored before National got three straight outs to preserve the tie.
After Carroll National went down in order in the top of the seventh, Keaton Beeman reached with one out in the bottom of the seventh for Galax and eventually scored the winning run with one out.
Carroll American, playing simultaneously on Field 2, had a much easier time of it against Wythe West. Carroll had dropped a 10-8 decision to West earlier in the tournament but had little trouble in the two teams’ second meeting, rolling to a 15-1 win in five innings.
Carroll American led just 2-0 entering the fourth inning when it erupted for seven runs, all with one out. Casey Utt, Zac Alley, K.K. Underwood, Haden Quesenberry, Chandler Vass and Jackson Hull all rapped base hits during the rally, which ended with American leading 9-0.
Carroll tacked on six more runs in the fifth, staring with a Michael Combs double and following with base hits from Alley, Ryan Phillips and Utt.
Reaching Tuesday’s round, Carroll American needed wins on consecutive days to unseat Galax, while the undefeated host team needed just one win to wrap up the tournament. Galax got it done in one game, 9-8, but had to hold off a late Carroll charge to do it.
With the score tied 2-2 after the top of the second, Galax put together a six-run rally to take an 8-2 lead on runs by Tucker Carter, Cole Pickett, Daniel Huff, Levi Billings, Nic Sawyers and Cade Ashworth.
Carroll American made a dent in the Galax lead, cutting the gap to 8-5 with three runs in the top of the third as Utt, Combs and Alley all scored, but Galax stretched the lead to 9-5 on another Huff run in the fourth.
Here came Carroll American. Ryan Phillips and Jacob Motley scored on a base hit by Hull, and Combs doubled with one out to knock in Hull, trimming the lead to a single run with one out and the tying run standing at second. Ashworth, on the mound for Galax, buckled down and got the final two outs with no further damage.
In a week full of highlights, the best scene of the entire five-day event no doubt was following the trophy presentation, when both teams got together on the mound to break it down one last time amid mutual congratulations and pats on the back.