South Park’s 12U All-Star team defeated District 4 rival Stanley on July 19 to capture the league’s 6th state championship. With the win, the team punched its ticket to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Ruston, LA on August 2, 2019, where they will represent North Carolina in the 12-team field and play for the national championship.
The state title win was the culmination of a dominating summer of baseball for South Park’s 12s. They breezed through the District 4 Tournament in early July going 4-0 and outscoring their opponents by a combined 46-0. South Park’s dominant pitching staff allowed just one hit in the entire district tournament while the offense pounded out 10+ runs per game.
South Park started state tournament competition in similar fashion beating Hope Mills 11-0 in round one and stopping perennial power West Robeson 4-0 in round 2. South Park did not allow a hit in either game. The two wins earned South Park a bye into the semi-finals where they stopped Whiteville 10-5 to advance to the “Final Four” to meet East Duplin. South Park dispatched East Duplin 12-2 in 4 innings to earn a spot in the championship series against arch-rival and tournament host Stanley.
As South Park was the sole undefeated team, Stanley had to beat them twice to win the title. A single win by South Park on Stanley’s home turf would have ended the tournament. The gritty and talented Stanley team struck first by beating South Park 2-0 in a thriller. South Park stranded the tying runs on base in the 6th inning. Roles were reversed in the title game. South Park notched a 1-0 victory, scoring the game’s sole run on a fielding error in the top of the 5th inning. John Lash and Ben Wilcox combined to toss a no-hitter in the state final with Lash getting the win and Wilcox being credited with an efficient two-pitch save. Wilcox relieved Lash who hit his pitch limit with 2 out in the 6th. With the tying run on second, Wilcox forced a ground out to end the game.
The South Park squad is coached by manager Steve Gardner and assistant coaches Drew Nicholson and Greg Wilcox. The team departs for Ruston in early August where they will face the state champs from Arkansas in round one.
The state championship is particularly sweet as this season marks South Park’s 50th Anniversary. This is also South Park’s second 12U Majors Championship in three years and third since 2012.