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WILMINGTON — The West Chatham 12U All-Stars were runners-up in the 2019 NC Dixie Youth Softball State Tournament Ponytails X-play Division in Wilmington last week.
The locals advanced to the championship game before falling to eventual state champion South Brunswick, who took 2-of-3 games from West Chatham in the tournament. The champs sealed it in a winner-take-all contest on Thursday evening after the locals had down the eventual state winners earlier in the day to force a final and decisive game.
On Tuesday evening, West Chatham doubled up Burgaw 10-5 to advance into the championship round.
The local bunch plated four runs in the first, one more in the second and four in the third to take a commanding 9-1 advantage that it never relinquished. Sydney Russell, Ella Fields, Calissa Clendenin, and Evelin Sanchez all scored for West Chatham in the first inning uprising before Katelyn Brown scored in the second to give WC a 5-0 cushion.
After Burgaw trimmed the deficit to 5-1 with a run in the top of the third, West Chatham, sparked by a lead off double from Clendenin, tacked on four runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 9-1. Clendenin, Kaitlyn Garner, Chloe Scott and Kelsey Morris all scored for the locals in the uprising.
Russell would score in the fourth for West Chatham to extend the lead to 10-1.
Burgaw scratched for three runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth but it was too little too late as West Chatham advanced with the 10-5 victory.
Clendenin earned the win on the mound for West Chatham in the contest.
On Thursday, WC would tangle with South Brunswick which had defeated West Chatham 11-4 in the tournament opener to send the local squad immediately into loser’s bracket action.
But after battling all the way back through, West Chatham would shock the unbeaten South Brunswick bunch with seven runs in the top of the first and never looked back in cruising to a stunning 18-6 victory.
Russell, Clendenin, Sanchez, Garner, Scott, Morris and Karaleigh Dodson all scored for West Chatham in the torrid start.
The locals added runs from Clendenin and Sanchez in the third to push the WC lead to a comfortable 9-0. Sanchez highlighted the surge with an RBI-double.
After South Brunswick made a small run to tally four in the top of the third to close the gap to 9-4, West Chatham answered with nine runs in the home half of the inning to put the game away. Russell, Fields, Clendenin, Sanchez, Scott, Morris, Brown, Mattie Underwood and Payton Pickett all scored in the uprising.
South Brunswick added two run in the fourth but it wasn’t enough to extend the contest as the locals grabbed the 18-6 win in four innings.
Russell took the win on the mound for West Chatham.
The victory by West Chatham forced a deciding final game for all the marbles.
Unfortunately South Brunswick came roaring back with a vengeance and would not be denied the state championship and berth to the Dixie Youth Southeast Regionals.
South Brunswick plated five runs in the bottom of the first, five more in the second, and a final run in the third to cap an impressive 11-1 triumph in three and a half innings, turning the tables and run-ruling West Chatham.
Only in the top of the second was West Chatham able to push a run across when Clendenin walked and later scored.
Russell took the loss on the mound for West Chatham, which closed the state tournament with a 3-2 mark.