Baseball is a funny sport. Not funny as in HaHa but funny as in strange things seem to happen. If there is anything consistent about the game it is that it will forever breed inconsistency. The Jackson Parish 10U All Star baseball team learned that valuable lesson this past weekend.
Just as they had done in district play, where they averaged 11 runs per game to win five straight games and claim the Region 8 title, JP10U started the Dixie Youth state tournament being played at Buckeye by hitting their average for runs scored to beat Concordia Parish. Then suddenly the hits quit falling and the runs became hard to come by. The result was that over the final two games combined, JP10U scored less runs than they had in any one game of All-Star tournament play.. The result was an unexpected early exit for the district champs.
Still it didn’t take anything away from the joy that head coach Larry Ponder and staff of Corey Thomas and Juddy Rogers had in being able to coach the young elite athletes.
“I wish I had an answer,” said Ponder when asked about his team suddenly not being able to score. “It is just baseball.”
Ponder went on to acknowledge his team.
“This team shouldn’t be remembered for their last two games,” reflected the head coach. “Instead they should be remembered for bringing home a district title and for representing our Parish with class and honor. I know our staff is proud and honored to have had the opportunity to coach them. It will be fun to watch their acheivements as they grow older.”
Jackson Parish 11 Concordia Parish 8: Four runs in the second and six more in the fourth gave the locals all the runs they needed to move into the second round winners bracket. The difference was the13 walks coaxed by JP10U offset making 10 errors as both teams managed to get five hits.
After spotting Concordia a 2-0 lead, JP10U quickly tied it up after Cason Rogers and Raylon Bradford walked and Jaxon Cheatwood and Axel Coe hit singles. A hit by Ryan Sandifer that was sandwiched by walks to Waylon Sullivan and Bentley Ponder continued the inning and reversed the deficit to a two run lead. Concordia came back to tie it in the top of the third but Noah Spillman put the locals back up by one by drawing a walk, moving to second on a walk to Jake Moak and then stealing third and home.
The lead changed hands for the fifth time in 3 1/2 innings when Concordia grabbed a6-5 lead but the local put the game away with six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Consecutive walks to Coe, Ponder and Mason Thomasset the stage for back to back singles by Noah Spillman and Moak. With two out Bradford, Cheatwood and J Waggoner drew walks and coe reached base for the third straight time when he got hit by a pitch to give the locals an insurmountable 11-6 lead. Jackson Parish stole six bases on the day paced by Spillman and Moak who had two apiece.
2B – Sandifer
RBI – Coe 2, Sandifer 2, Spillman, Moak
RS – Spillman 2, Bradford 2, Coe 2, Ponder, Thomas, Moak, Rogers, Cheatwood
West Carroll 12 Jackson Parish 2: the winners bracket contest started promising for JP10U as Mason Thomas and Noah Spillman reached on a hit and an error before being brought home on a hit by Jake Moak and a groundout by Hayden Essmeier. The the well of hits ran dry as only Moak and Ryan Sandifer managed a base hit the rest of the way. Meanwhile West Carroll took advantage of six walks and five errors to gradually pull away the big blow being a six run bottom of the third that opened up a 3-2 game. Jaxon Cheatwood, Bentley Ponder and Spillman were the hard luck hurlers for Jackson Parish as they allowed only four hits and three earned runs.
RBI – Essmeier
RS – Thomas, Spillman
SB – Bradford
Winnsboro 7 Jackson Parish 3: The hit drought continued and combined with 11 errors the hill was to hight to climb against Winnsboro. Once again JP10U broke out for two runs in the top of the first as Bentley Ponder and Noah Spillman scored after reaching on an error and a hit. Jake Moak scored the only other run for the locals in the top of the fifth.
RBI – Spillman, Rogers
RS – Ponder, Spillman, Moak,
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