North Charleston’s Dixie Majors baseball program is seeking its fourth World Series title as it hosts the 2013 Dixie Majors World Series at Collins Park and Charleston Southern University.
Dixie Majors World Series
at Charleston Southern
Alabama vs. Texas, 9 a.m.
Mississippi vs. S. Carolina, 11:30 a.m.
Arkansas vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m.
at Collins Park
Florida vs. Tennessee, 9 a.m.
Virginia vs. Georgia, 11:30 a.m.
Louisiana vs North Charleston, 2 p.m.
Action begins Saturday with games at both sites. North Charleston will play the defending World Series champions from Louisiana at 2 p.m. at Collins Park.
The tournament involves 12 teams from around the Southeast in a double-elimination format. North Charleston received an automatic bid to the World Series as the tournament’s host — the fourth time the city has hosted the event.
Hilton Head also advanced to the World Series as the South Carolina state champion. The other state champions are from Texas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. The players are ages 17-19, and most rosters include college players who meet the age requirement.
North Charleston coach Kenny Wilkinson led the North Charleston program to titles in 2005, 2006 and 2009. They were runners-up in 2001 and 2011. The coach says his 2013 squad is capable of winning it all but would not be the favorite.
“I would have to say Louisiana and Texas are probably the favorites, but anything can happen over the next five days,” said Wilkinson. “We have a good group of guys and they have worked hard this summer. We don’t have the depth that we’ve had in the past, but we have a chance to be competitive. The goal is to be playing on the last day (Wednesday). You get that far, anything can happen.”
The strength of this year’s North Charleston team is on the mound. A solid pitching staff is led by Citadel pitchers Austin Livingston and Brett Hines, CSU’s Miller Bonds, and Florence-Darlington Tech’s Tyler Wiand. Livingston prepped at Ashley Ridge, Hines is a Hanahan graduate and Wiand a Fort Dorchester grad.
North Charleston’s starting lineup will include only one player, rightfielder Michael Punteney of Stratford, that played high school baseball in 2013. All other starters are college performers. Catcher Zach Haralambis and shortstop Kevin Hickey played at CSU this spring.
First baseman Tyler Gross (USC Salkahatchie, Northwood Academy) and second baseman Ryan Maksim (Brunswick CC, Bishop England) round out the infield, while Citadel redshirt Steven Hansen (Pinewood Prep) starts in the outfield.
“Our pitching and defense are pretty solid,” says Wilkinson. “We have to find a way to score some runs and give ourselves a chance.”
The tournament championship is set for Wednesday night at Collins Park.