NEW ALBANY —
Over the past two years, the current Jeff/GRC 11-year-olds couldn’t get by New Albany in the District 5 Tournament.
On Tuesday at Mt. Tabor Park, Jeff beat New Albany 10-0 in four innings to win the District 5 title and advance to the 10-11-year-old state tournament at Concord Little League in Mishawaka. Jeff will play District 2 in the state tournament opener on Monday, July 22.
“We finally get to represent District 5 in the [state] tourney,” Jeff/GRC manager Jeremy Thomas said.
“It’s a great feeling,” Jeff/GRC pitcher Markez Jordan added.
Jeff jumped on top 1-0 after the first inning when Connor Christopher hit an RBI double that drove home T.J. Ellis, who drew a walk to open the game.
Jordan gave up a bunt single to New Albany starting pitcher Hayden Krebs to start the bottom of the first inning. It was the last hit Jordan surrendered.
However, with two outs in the first, he walked New Albany’s Aidan Clemons and Kolt Kaiser to loaded the bases.
Jordan admitted that he was “a little bit” shaken by New Albany’s start, but “I forgot about the last pitch and focused on the next one,” he said.
Jordan struck out Max Meyer looking to get out of the jam. New Albany never threatened again.
Jordan shut down a New Albany team that had won a state championship as 9-10-year-olds a season ago and entered the championship game unbeaten, including a 5-4 win over GRC earlier in the tournament.
“We didn’t have the same fire as the last game [against Jeff],” New Albany manager Chad Clemons said.
Jordan struck out four and walked four.
“When Markez is locked in, he’s tough to beat,” Thomas said. “He’s definitely our big-game pitcher.”
“I thought Markez pitched an excellent game and they have good bats. They’re a good team,” Clemons said of Jeff.
In the second inning, Jordan got two more runs of support.
Dylan Thomas started the rally with a one-out single off of Krebs. After a wild pitch and a second out, Ellis drove in Dylan Thomas. Ellis, who went to second base on the throw home to try to get Dylan Thomas out at the plate, scored when Ben Harbeson singled into left-center field for a 3-0 Jeff lead.
Jeff added three more runs in the third to take command. Jack Kruer started the frame with a double. Pinch-runner Jacob Grimes moved to third on a passed ball and scored when New Albany catcher Ty Lehman dropped a third strike and had to throw Keaton Smith out at first.
Jordan and the younger Thomas followed with back-to-back singles. Jordan scored on an error and Dylan Thomas on a passed back and it was 6-0 Jeff after three innings.
The Jeffersonville All-Stars forced the 10-run rule with four more runs in the fourth, including a two-run home run into the Mt. Tabor Park trees by Colby Kayrouz.
“[I expect that from Kayrouz] in a big game,” Jordan said.
Short and Dylan Thomas both singled and scored on a Grimes two-run single to make it 10-0.
“I thought the [Jeff offense] did amazing,” Jordan said.
“The kids worked really, really hard to prepare for this [New Albany] team,” Jeremy Thomas said. “The past three weeks has been about working hard and being ready for this game. Tonight, we knew what was on the line and we came to play.”
Dylan Thomas went 3-for-3 and scored three times to lead Jeff’s 11-year-olds, which will be one of five Jeff/GRC squads to play in state tournaments. Jeff won three of the four District 5 baseball divisions. Grimes and Adam Crawford both came off the GRC bench and reached base twice.
New Albany finished the tournament 4-1. With six 11-year-olds currently on the 11-12 team, New Albany will enter the 2014 District 5 tourney as heavy favorites.
“My kids played exceptionally well,” Clemons said of the D5 tourney. “I couldn’t ask any more of them. We just came up a little short.”
LITTLE LEAGUE DISTRICT 5
10-11 BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
At Mt. Tabor Park, New Albany
Jeff/GRC 123 4—10 12 0
New Albany 000 0— 0 1 1
W — Markez Jordan. L — Hayden Krebs. 2B — Connor Christopher (J), Jackson Kruer (J). HR — Colby Kayrouz (J).
Records — New Albany 4-1, Jeff/GRC 4-1.