JP8U put the finishing touches on their Dixie Youth, District 8 “Coach Pitch” tournament championship by winning two games on Wednesday to finish with a perfect 6-0 record. The victors will next play July 13-16 in the state tournament to be held in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans.
After outscoring their opponents 54-9 to cake walk their way to four straight victories over the past weekend, JP8U had to fight tooth and nail and work overtime to claim the District 8 title, beating Jena 11-10 and home standing Pineville 5-4 in the finals.
JP8U 11 Jena 10 – Jackson Parish pulled off an improbable rally by scoring Five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs rallied the locals from a 10-6 deficit in the contest that saw both teams sit out a one hour rain delay.
Koplen Taylor started the winning rally by drawing a walk and then advanced to second on a groundout by Remi Davis. It looked bleak when another out was made but the second double of the day by Wyatt McGrew scored Taylor and kept hope alive. Maddox Graham then singled followed by a Kutter Blalock double, his third extra base hit of the game, that scored two to narrow the margin to 10-9. Asher Norred then sent the locals fans who made the trip to Pineville into delirium with the third double of the inning and second in a row to tie the score. Carter Kelly then hit a single to score Norred with what turned out to be the winning run after Jena went three up and three down in the top of the sixth and final frame.
JP8U opened the contest by breaking out the “big sticks” to score three runs in the top of the first, lending belief they would have another easy time with the host as they did earlier in the tourney. Blalock smashed a triple after one out was made to get things started and scored when Norred followed with a double. Ridge Lewter drove him in with another three-bagger, the third extra base hit of the frame, and then scored when Brock Craighead singled.
Things changed suddenly in the second inning though as after JP8U failed to get a hit or score in their at bat, Jena plated six in the bottom of the second. Both teams scored a run in the third with McGrew and Blalock doubling to count the run for the locals. Jackson Parish closed the gap to 8-6 in the bottom of the fourth when Kelly led off with a single and scored on a triple by Brock Craighead who scored when Andrew Seymore singled.
Jena answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to up the lead to 10-6 setting the stage for the remarkable rally. The victory was the fifth straight in the tourney and qualified JP8U for the state tourney.
3B – Blalock, Lewter, Craighead
Runs – Blalock 2, Norred 2, McGrew 2, Graham, Kelly, Craighead, Taylor
Jackson Parish 5 Pineville 4: As fate would have it in order to win the district title the locals would have to beat the host team again. Pineville put up a much stronger fight the second time around but it still wasn’t good enough to derail JP8U from taking the seven inning victory. Twice JP8U took leads of 1-0 and 3-1 only to see Pineville come back to tie. After Jackson Parish grabbed their third lead of the day in the bottom of the fourth when Kelly scored on a single by Andrew Seymore, a run by the host in the sixth pushed the game into an extra frame. Brock Craighead and Seymore opened with singles and and a pair of flyouts by Cruz Nomey and Koplen Taylor scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Jackson Parish jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Kutter Blalock singled and scored on back-to-back singles by Asher Norred and Carter Kelly. Two more runs were scored in the third with Wyatt McGrew, Maddox Graham, Blalock and Norred hit four straight one out singles.
Unlike the game before where JP8U had nine extra base hits, all 17 hits accumulated by the locals were singles, led by three each from Blalock, Norred, Kelly, and Seymore. Brock Craighead got a pair of hits and Graham, Nomey, Remi Davis, and McGrew got one each.