New Albany and Jeffersonville — two of the best 11-12-year-old baseball teams in Indiana — will meet at 7 p.m. Monday for a ticket to the state finals in Plainfield from July 19-23.
As expected, the rivals cruised to victories in Friday’s semifinals. Top-seeded New Albany rolled past Silver Creek 15-3 and Jeff/GRC beat Highlander Youth Recreation 13-7.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to play them in the district championship again,” said Josh Castleman, who played on New Albany’s 10-year-old state championship team a year ago. “[Jeff is] definitely a good team and we’ll have to play good, but we definitely have the potential to beat them.”
“I can’t wait to play them,” New Albany’s Andrew Ricketts added.
NEW ALBANY 15, SILVER CREEK 3
New Albany came out early and showed why it has the tournament favorite by scoring 10 times in the first inning.
After a Cooper Biven single, Ricketts and Castleman hit back-to-back home runs to make it 3-0. Following Cody Medley and Drew Fifer singles, Carson Gentry and David Newbanks took their turn with back-to-back homers. It was 7-0 after seven New Albany batters.
“We jumped out early on them,” New Albany manager Josh Biven said. “That set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Silver Creek was able to get within 10-3 when Castleman walked two and hit a batter in the second, but New Albany responded with a game-clinching five-spot in the third. Medley hit a three-run home run and Aiden Clemons and Max Meyer hit back-to-back RBI singles in the frame.
Gentry led the balanced New Albany offense with four RBIs and a pair of runs. All nine spots had at least one hit for the victors.
“This is a great group of guys and great all-around players,” Ricketts said.
Caleb Popp, Landon Kruer and Alex Dennison each scored and Caden Sidebottom had an RBI for Silver Creek. Conner Young had its only hit in the loss.