Aynor Darlings advance to state

The Aynor Dixie Darlings recently won the district championship to advance to the state tournament in Hartsville. Pictured are, left to right on the front row, Cheyenne Stephens, Bella Baker, Caroline Gerrald, Jordan Salley, Skylar Jenerrette and Alivia Hess. On the second row are Alaina Brown, Riley Rabon, Bailey Gibson, Emma Hodge, Madelyn Johnson and McCallie Brown. On the third row are coaches Jason Brown, Anthony Rabon, Rett Johnson, Jon Gerrald, and Brock Salley.

The Aynor Dixie Darlings (8-and-under) made quick work of their competition on the district level to earn a berth in the state tournament beginning July 8 in Hartsville.

Aynor outscored its opponents by more than 100 runs in its 6-0 record in the district tournament.

“We have a pretty good all-around team,” said head coach Rett Johnson, who played professional baseball with the Seattle Mariners from 1997-2000. “If the girls play up to their capabilities, we’ll be tough for anyone to beat.”

Aynor rolled through the district with romps over Pee Dee, 22-1; Loris, 21-0; Mullins, 21-1; Marion, 16-5; Latta, 18-4; and Marion, 21-11.

According to Johnson, the team features a good mix of newcomers and returnees from this past year’s Darlings who finished second at the state tournament. He said the team shares a special bond with everyone being friends and pulling for each other and picking their teammates up when necessary.

If Aynor wins the state championship, it will advance to the World Series in Mississippi.

“Our goal is to win it all,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have to play the best we can.”

Members of the team are: Cheyenne Stephens, Bella Baker, Caroline Gerrald, Jordan Salley, Skylar Jenerrette, Alivia Hess, Alaina Brown, Riley Rabon, Bailey Gibson, Emma Hodge, Madelyn Johnson and McCallie Brown.

Assisting Johnson with the coaching duties are Jason Brown, Anthony Rabon, Jon Gerrald and Brock Salley.

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