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Three local teams alive in state baseball championship

READ MORE: Three local teams alive in state baseball championship
The southern part of Columbus County has always been considered a hotbed for youth baseball. On Sunday, the South Columbus All-Stars faced Southpark, a team out of Charlotte. South Columbus scored their first run of the game in the first inning when Mason Benton's RBI double plated Hunter Shelley. But runs were hard to come by Sunday afternoon for South Columbus. They end up losing 4-2 and must work their way through the loser’s bracket to stay alive for a state title. There is nothing like hometown support for the hometown team. In this tournament that team is Bladen County. Every game for Bladen is a must-win situation due to the fact they lost their opener on Saturday. Bladen held a 4-1 lead on Sunday going into the 6th inning against the Sandhills squad, but the visitors scored 3 runs in the final frame to send the game into extra innings. That's when Bladen County took over, especially pitcher Alex Coats. “Alex Coats pitched a great game. He positioned the ball where he needed to and the defense was behind him. We did the little things like bunting and the moving the runners over and have big hits. That's what it takes,” said Bladen coach Joe Bryant. Bladen stayed alive as the host team, with a 7-4 win. Leland also has a baseball team in the State Ten and Under Dixie Tournament. In a loser’s bracket game, Leland definitely came to play against Tryon. Shaquan Graham ripped a hit in the fifth inning, as Jaheed Cason scored easily from 3rd for the go-ahead run. Leland ended up a 7-6 winner and they too stay alive in the Dixie Ten and Under State Baseball Championship. Leland will face South Columbus Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Clarkton. The Bladen All-Stars will play Boger City at 6:00 p.m. The tournament started with 16 teams, but four have been eliminated, so it's now down to just 12.

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