The weekend belonged to Jefferson County Little League’s 10-12 all-star team at the state tournament at Greenbrier Little League in Lewisburg.
After breezing through area and District 6 tournament play, JCLL doesn’t show signs of letting up anytime soon.
JCLL won its first two state tournament games in blowouts. First, JCLL opened tournament play with a convincing, 11-0 win over Shinnston Little League on Saturday.
Twenty-four hours later, JCLL put on another high-scoring show, this time routing Barboursville, 13-3. Through two tournament games, JCLL has scored 44 runs while giving up just three.
The wins mean JCLL is guaranteed to remain in the tournament through at least Wednesday. JCLL moved into the winners’ bracket final of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament on Tuesday, where it faced Logan for the right to advance to Wednesday’s championship game.
Should JCLL win its next two games, it clinches the state championship and gets the chance to take the next step toward every Little Leaguers’ dream — a berth in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pennsylvania — by advancing to the Southeast Region Tournament, Aug. 6-11, at Warner Robbins, Georgia.
In both state tournament games over the weekend, JCLL had its way with its opponents. Both games also had something in common — one big inning which broke things open and made for shortened games, due to the mercy rule, a 15-run lead after three innings or, in JCLL’s case, a 10-run advantage after four innings.
In Saturday’s win over Shinnston, JCLL batted around in the top of the fourth inning, scoring seven runs and sent 11 batters to the plate. Against Barboursville on Sunday, JCLL’s big inning was the bottom of the second, where it batted around again, this time scoring eight runs through 11 batters.
Serf Guerra, JCLL’s home-run leader, remains on a tear.
From his leadoff spot in the batting order, he’s belted three homers in two games, including a pair of blasts on Saturday against Shinnston.
All of Guerra’s homers have been solo shots. He had a leadoff homer to start Saturday’s game against Shinnston and led off the bottom of the third on Sunday against Barboursville with a towering blast over the fence in left field.
Guerra’s second homer on Saturday came in the fourth.
His high-probably rate for belting homers in a game prompted Shinnston and Barboursville to issue an intentional walk to Guerra. Jefferson High School’s Cullen Horowicz, this year’s Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year for West Virginia, another local home-run hitter, had his share of intentional walks as well.
In JCLL’s win over Barboursville, Finn Dudley had a three-run homer in the second.
Over the course of its first two games, JCLL has pounded out 17 hits. It had six against Shinnston and 11 against Barboursville.
On the defensive side, JCLL pitching has allowed six hits over its first two games. Liam Sager and Guerra combined on a two-hitter against Shinnston. Mason Lowery, Teagan Moulton and Guerra teamed up to scatter four Barboursville hits.
With JCLL in the winners’ bracket final, it means the county team has the shortest route to a possible state championship, having to win just two games.