Historic 2018 run ends for Majors

Published 12:46 pm Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Buckingham County Major League All-Star team’s tenure as the on-field baseball representative of the state of Virginia came to an end Tuesday at the 2018 Dixie Youth Baseball Majors World Series in Lumberton, North Carolina, but the boys returned home as history-makers.

Virginia was eliminated from the double-elimination tourney Tuesday after a narrow 3-0 loss to North Carolina, putting the Buckingham boys’ record in the event at an even 2-2.

“I think I was told we were the first Virginia team from Majors to ever win a (World Series) game, and so we won two — that’s a big accomplishment,” Virginia Manager John Toney said. “And I know we’re the first Buckingham team to ever win more than one game in a World Series” — at any age level.

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Toney noted he was pleased overall with his team’s performance against impressive competition in Lumberton.

“We played great,” he said. “We represented Virginia well, and most teams down there get to pick from 300 to 500 kids. We got to pick 12 kids out of 36. That’s a big difference.”

There were only three regular season teams at the Majors age level in Buckingham this year from which to select a county all-star team.

The Buckingham County Majors All-Star team went undefeated in the Dixie Youth Baseball state tournament it hosted in Dillwyn in early July.

In their first World Series game Saturday, the Buckingham boys fell 4-0 to Louisiana. They started to look like their dominant selves Sunday when they eliminated Arkansas with a 12-2 victory.

Virginia kept its momentum going Monday with a 10-1 win that eliminated the host team, Lumberton.

But Toney and his team experienced some unwelcome deja vu Tuesday.

“Just like the Louisiana game, we just didn’t hit,” he said.

Buckingham’s ace pitcher largely bottled up North Carolina’s offense.

“Justin Gunter had 10 strikeouts through five-and-a-third (innings),” Toney said. “We were right there to win the game, we just didn’t have but two hits. Justin Gunter had a hit, and Jake Carter had a hit.”

The Buckingham Majors All-Stars finished the summer with a 7-2 overall record.

“They’re amazing,” Toney said. “Their work ethic is great. They come to play ball every single game, every single practice. They’re going to be something very special — all 12 of those kids.”

Most of them will move to another age level, and “some of them will even play JV baseball next year, which I know they’ll do great,” Toney said.