COVINGTON - South Carolina had its back against the wall after losing in the first round before winning the rest of its games to repeat as the Dixie Boys champions.
"Our team that won the world series in '98 lost their first game. It can happen," Newton County Recreation Assistant Director Anthony Avery said. "It just depends on how good a team is, if they stick together and if the pitching holds up."
It came down to a three-way tie for the title after Georgia, who was undefeated at the time, lost to Florida 14-6 giving the three remaining teams one loss in the double-elimination tournament.
"The way it worked out, Georgia already had a bye, so they had to play. Florida won the bye, so Georgia had to play South Carolina, and the winner played Florida for the championship," Avery said.
Team Georgia was the first to fall, losing to South Carolina 12-11.
It looked like Florida was going to take the trophy home as it led 5-4 following the fifth.
But South Carolina rallied in their half of the sixth inning, crossing the plate eight times to make it 12-5.
Florida tried valiantly to rally but fell short, only mustering three runs and making South Carolina the 2008 Dixie Boys Baseball World Series champions
"I'm sure it had a lot to do with all the kids that were able to make it back on that team," Avery said." It helped them to carry through. The experience goes a long way."
On the road to winning the World Series, South Carolina lost its first game to Texas 8-7. In the loser's bracket, the team had wins over Mississippi (14-6), Virginia (8-5), North Carolina (11-1) and Louisiana (7-3).
Florida had wins over Tennessee (10-4) and North Carolina (12-5) before losing to Louisiana 10-4.
After going to the bottom bracket, Florida eliminated Alabama with a 7-3 win before facing Georgia.
Team Georgia was on a roll, winning three games in a row before losing the next two.
Georgia's wins came over Newton County (10-3), Alabama (11-5) and Louisiana (16-3).
Unfortunately for Newton County, they were eliminated after two games.
After losing to Georgia, Newton was removed from further play with a 3-2 extra-inning loss to Virginia.
"We expected more out of them," Avery said. They're a better team than they showed. There are some good teams in the world series, but unfortunately they had some errors that didn't go their way. It happens sometimes.
"It was real exciting for all the kids. It seems to me they all had a real good time."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.