The Salem Dixie League AAA All-Stars competed in the state tournament in Blackstone last weekend. Salem went went to the 10 team tournament as District 7 champs.
The Salemites lost their first two games in the double elimination tournament and were ousted Saturday. Salem lost 12-2 to Dinwiddie and 11-5 to Prince George.
“We didn’t play our best in Blackstone,” said coach Kendall Keffer. “We actually played our worst two games in quite a long time.”
In the opener against Dinwiddie Salem gave up 16 walks as the pitchers struggled to find the strike zone and ultimately led to nine runs in the Dinwiddie third inning. Salem only managed two hits on the entire night, coming in the form of a bunt single from Adam Franklin in the second Inning and a double from Ben Keffer in the fourth. Mason Hale scored the first run in the bottom of the first inning to give Salem a 1-0 lead, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Chase Rutledge. Keffer scored the other run in the fourth after another sacrifice fly by Jack Stroud.
On Saturday against Prince George Salem gave up seven unearned runs. The game was tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the third inning but Prince George scored three runs to take a 4-1 lead.
Salem fought back in the top of the fourth inning to score three runs to tie the game at 4-4. Rutledge led off the inning with a single, then Coen Logan laced an RBI triple to right center field. Stroud followed with a single up the middle to make the score 4-3 and Jackson Jones hit a line drive to right to score Stroud and tie the game.
“Ultimately the tremendous defensive plays by Prince George were too much to overcome as we were unable to match it with too many defensive miscues,” said coach Keffer.
Stroud led us offensively in the game, going three-for-three with two runs batted in and a run scored. The combined pitching effort of Keffer, Rutledge, Zach Bocock and Hale was solid.
“Overall I am very proud of how our boys played and the tremendous work they put in over the past few weeks,” said Keffer. “This is an incredible group of boys that are going to do special things. As we have shared with them over the weeks (actually years) that we have coached them is that there will be times in sports, school, life, etc. where things go your way and you will be king of the hill. Then there will be times when things don’t go your way and there will be situations that you cannot find any reason why it happened. Our ask is for them to not run, pout and quit…rather to keep working, keep fighting as the rewards will be in the effort that they put in.
“Special thanks to the parents and the Salem Community for helping and supporting us during the All-star season. The Salem Community helped us raise over $3,500 to help offset the travel expenses for the families. Simply awesome!”