There is an old saying of it is better to be lucky than good. That is true when experiencing good luck. Jackson Parish 8U had a double dose of luck this past Saturday, only it was all bad.
After winning both of their games on Friday, Jackson Parish became one of the eight teams to advance to bracket play out of the 24 teams that participated in the state tourney being played in Metairie, LA. While there were still several games left to play, enthusiasm was abound that the locals would bring home a championship. After all, they were on a nine game winning streak and everything seemed to be going there way.
Then came Saturday and everything changed, especially after the third inning of the first game against Mamou. Suddenly balls that seemed to always find a hole during the impressive nine game run by JP8U, found gloves. Over the final three innings of game one and the first four of game two, Jackson Parish was unable to score, by far the longest streak during district and state play. An even worse break was that Koplen Taylor and Cruz Nomey both got sick which was a crippling blow both offensively and defensively. Still the locals showed true grit by staying close until falling in both games late, including a tremendously impressive rally in their final game that almost brought them back to victory from a six run deficit.
“I can’t explain how much in awe I am of the guys for the way they refused to lay down,” said head coach Dusty Nomey. “You can’t get a better effort than what the guys gave and that is all a coach or anyone could ever ask for. We may have come up short on the scoreboard but they proved that they are winners.”
Mamou 5 Jackson Parish 3: Two runs by their central Louisiana foe in the bottom of the fourth was the difference in the contest that was knotted at three apiece after three innings where both teams fell behind and took a lead. Mamou got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning but two out singles by Wyatt McGrew and Ridge Lewter plated Andrew Seymore who had reached on a fielders choice to cut the led in half. JP8U took the lead at 3-2 in the top of the third when again with two outs Brock Craighead and Carter Kelley hit clutch back to back singles to score Landry Garrett and Asher Norred who had opened the frame with hits.
Runs – Norred, Seymore, Garrett
Lakeshore 8 Jackson Parish 6: A six run rally over the final two innings of regulations play sent the game into extra frames but Lakeshore scored two in the top of the eight to move on in the bracket and eliminate JP8U from state title consideration.
Kutter Blalock and Brock Craighead put an end to Jackson Parish’s longest string of scoreless innings produced in All-Star action when both hit doubles to open the bottom of the fifth inning. A third “two bagger” in the frame, this one off the bat of Koplen Taylor closed the deficit to four runs with only one more at bat in regulation left. Dire straits, right? Jackson Parish may have gone down in the contest but they went down swinging.
With their backs squarely against the wall Ridge Lewter, Remi Davis, Landry Garrett, Maddox Graham and Asher Norred all swatted singles to score a run and put the tying runs on base. Brock Craighead then came to the plate and by the time he stood on first with the sixth hit of the sixth inning, JP8U had tied the score to the delight and amazement of the local supporters. Three singles and a triple in the top of the 8th proved to much to overcome as another rally just wasn’t in the cards ending Jackson Parish’s productive summer of All-Star competition with a strong 9-2 record.
The showing at state by the team was impressive indeed. As a team Jackson Parish batted .572 collecting 87 hits in 152 at bats. Leading the hit parade was Graham with 11 followed closely by Kelley, Craighead and Norred with ten each. Kelley led in the extra base hits department with five doubles with Craighead next with two doubles and a game winning “walk-off” triple. Ridge Lewter also had a double and a triple. Additional “big stick” contributors were Graham (2B), Davis (2B), Cruz Nomey (2B), and Koplen Taylor (2B). Wyatt McGrew hit the only “round tripper” in the tourney for JP8U.
Craighead paced the team with 7 RBI followed by Kelley with five. Lewter knocked in four and McGrew three with Taylor chipping in with two. Graham, Norred and Davis each had an RBI as well. Norred was the top scorer with five while Graham, Craighead, and Blalock had three each. Kelley crossed home plate twice as did Davis, Nomey, Taylor, Seymore, and Garrett. McGrew also scored a run.
3B – Davis
RBI – Craighead 2, Norred 1, Taylor 1
Runs – Graham, Norred, Blalock, Craighead, Davis, Garrett