After falling behind 2-0 through two innings, the Jeff/GRC 10-11-year-old Baseball All-Stars kicked their offense into high gear and remained undefeated in the District 5 Little League Tournament with a 10-3 victory over Silver Creek on Monday at Mount Tabor Park.
Jeff/GRC improved its record to 2-0 and moved into first place in the division standings.
“We feel like we are in a pretty good spot right now,” Jeff/GRC manager Jeremy Thomas said. “We’ve just got to win one of our next two [games]. Hopefully, we can win both of them.”
Silver Creek (1-2) scored its first two runs in the opening inning. Leadoff batter Kyle Snell slid home from third base underneath the tag of Jeff/GRC catcher Jackson Kruer on a fielder’s choice for the first run. A couple batters later, Creek catcher Heath Knight collected an RBI single off Jeff/GRC starting pitcher Markez Jordan to plate Caden Sidebottom from third for the second score.
Jeff/GRC tied the game in the bottom of the third. Tyler Ellis smacked a one-out RBI double to center field off Silver Creek starter Andrew Baxter to drive in Jacob Grimes from second. The next batter, Ben Harbeson, then plated Ellis from third on a 4-3 groundout.
Silver Creek regained the lead in the top of the fourth. With two out and the bases loaded, Snell hit a bloop single into shallow center to knock in Baxter from third to put Creek up 3-2.
Jeff/GRC answered in the bottom half with three runs to take a 5-3 advantage. All of the runs came with two outs.
With the bases loaded, Harbeson smacked a two-run base hit to center to knock in Jared Wells and Grimes to give Jeff/GRC its first lead of the game at 4-3. Then Conner Christopher smacked an opposite-field single to right to plate Ellis.
Thomas said his batters facing Baxter the second time around the lineup definitely helped them at the plate.
“They got familiar with his release point and knew what was coming for the most part,” Thomas said.
Jeff/GRC sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five times. The big hits in the inning were a one-run single from Adam Crawford and a two-RBI single by Harbeson.
Harbeson went 3-for-4 with five RBIs. Christopher went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while Grimes was 2-for-3 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI. Crawford was 2-for-2 with a run scored.
Jordan pitched all six innings to get the victory. The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits. He struck out seven and walked two.
“He finally found his location and buckled down and didn’t get flustered. I’m really proud of him for that,” Thomas said of Jordan.
Baxter threw 4 1/3 innings as his outing ended after getting the first out of the bottom of the fifth because he reached the maximum pitch limit of 85 pitches. Baxter surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
“He just came in and pitched a heck of a game,” Silver Creek manager Shane Young said. “The tables turned as soon as we had to pull him out of the game. He was mowing them down from the first inning to the bottom of the fifth. We couldn’t ask anymore out of him.”
Baxter and Snell each went 2-for-3. Snell scored one run and drove in one, while Baxter had one run scored and a double.
Young thought a key factor in the loss was his players could not come up with timely hits. Silver Creek left six runners on base and four in scoring position. Despite its run in the fourth, Silver Creek left the bases loaded in the frame.
“We put two [runs] on them quick. But we knew two runs wasn’t going to win the game. We had to put more runs on the board,” Young said. “We didn’t have the hits. We left the bases loaded and you can’t do that and win ballgames.”
Jeff/GRC will return to action at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday against Clarksville. Silver Creek will take on Highlander Youth Recreation at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
DISTRICT 5 TOURNAMENT
JEFF/GRC 10, SILVER CREEK 3
Silver Creek 200 100— 3 5 1
Jeff/GRC 002 35x—10 14 3
W — Markez Jordan. L — Andrew Baxter. 2B — Baxter (SC), Jacob Grimes (J), Tyler Ellis (J), Conner Christopher (J).
Records — Jeff/GRC 2-0, Silver Creek 1-2.