The Adair County Little League All-Stars teams competing in their respective state tournaments fell short of advancing this week in LaGrange, Kentucky, and conclude their impressive seasons as 12U and 10U District 5 champions.
12U stars fall to tough competition
The older cohort from Adair County could not have gotten a tougher draw at state, competing against three of the pre-tournament favorites and ending the tournament 0-3.
“We knew we had a steep hill to climb, or whatever cliché you want to use,” says head coach Robbie Harmon. “We knew it was going to be tough. We didn’t talk wins and losses going in, we just went and played and tried to give them our best shot, and we did that. We played some good baseball, but we got beat by three superior teams and that’s about all you can say.”
Harmon’s squad fell to North Oldham Saturday 11 to 3. Kaden Burton’s single and Ty Burwash’s fourth inning double accounted for Adair’s only hits. Burton, Burwash, and Branson Minton each scored a run.
Burton took the loss on the mound, as the team from Columbia used four pitchers in the contest. Jay Harmon, Carson Darnell, and Carson Coomer also threw, none going more than two innings.
The task was no easier on Sunday, with Adair squaring off against a talented Owensboro Southern team that had 10-run ruled every opponent on the way to state. Adair mounted a valiant effort, pounding out 12 hits, but fell 14-6.
Burwash led the offensive charge with three hits, including two homers, three runs, and three RBI. Braxton Minton and Parker Jessie added two hits apiece, and Kipton Dial, Miles Bowman, Harmon, and Zane Greer each had one hit. Burwash got the start on the mound and took the loss. Dial and Bowman combined to pitch the final three innings.
The team’s final chance to crack the win column came Monday, but Lexington Eastern had other ideas, topping Adair 13-0. Dial and Greer accounted for the team’s only two hits. Burton started on the mound and took the loss, with Harmon and Darnell each working in relief.
Lexington Eastern and North Oldham advanced out of pool play on Adair’s side of the bracket.
Harmon says that the memories his team made through their district tourney run and appearance at state extend well beyond the baseball diamond.
“We spent the night in a team hotel Saturday night, ate pizza together, played in the pool, ran up and down hallways,” Harmon explains. “I think that’s what these kids are going to remember—they’re not going to remember any of these scores. We talked about it the other day—they’ll remember that we had a kid slide under the fence going after a fly ball. They’ll remember that a kid walked and belly-flopped halfway down the baseline.”
10U squad drops three close ones
The younger group of stars from Adair County did not fare better than their 11- and 12-year-old counterparts. The local boys were competitive in all three games, but came out on the losing end despite only being outscored by four total runs.
Adair opened pool play Saturday with a close, 8-7 loss to Paintsville. The game went to extra innings, but Paintsville managed a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to steal the win.
Brody Jones led an aggressive group of Adair hitters with three base knocks. Hunter Ballou, Lundon Moore, and Beau Melton tallied two hits each. Moore drove in four of Adair’s seven runs.
Luck was not on Adair’s side Sunday either, with the squad suffering another one-run loss, this one 5 to 4 against Lexington Eastern.
Stats for this contest were not immediately available, but head coach Brandon Petty says his team performed much better Sunday than in Saturday’s tilt against Paintsville.
“We kind of started off a little rough Saturday in the first game, and I think the kids’ nerves were kind of high,” Petty says. “We came out and made a few little errors, ended up losing by one run. Sunday, we came out with a completely different attitude, played really hard. The kids did great, they fought hard, they just came up one run short again.”
Adair’s offense exploded Monday in the final game of pool play, but a hard-hitting Warren South team was just a little better, escaping with a football-score win, 16-14. The game was tied at 12 heading into the sixth and final inning. Warren South added four in the top half of the frame, and Adair battled back to score two in the bottom half, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“The kids played hard and represented our county well,” Petty says. “They’re a great group of kids and they’ve learned so much over the past few months. I told them that we’re more like a family than a ball team because we’re so close and always together.”
Jones once again led the charge at the plate with four hits, three runs, and two RBI. Jared Hughes accounted for three hits, three runs, and three RBI. Starting pitcher Bentley Petty helped his own cause with a pair of doubles, two walks, two runs, and one knocked in.
Petty says that despite the losses, his team’s performance drew praise from opposing coaches.
“Several of them came over to tell us how good our team was,” Petty says. “Everybody we played said that if you take away a couple errors, we were the best team there. They came to the dugout and talked to our kids and said, ‘Listen, it just fell our way today.’”
The head coach adds that he believes the future is bright for his group of kids, and thanks the community for its support through the district and state tournaments.
“I think these kids will do well if they stay together,” he says. “I’m looking forward to next year. Our kids are all good boys, and they are so appreciative of how the community has rallied around them and supported them through this. We cannot thank them enough.”
The 12U and 10U rosters, as well as additional photos from state, are below:
Adair 12U All-Stars Roster
Robbie Harmon (head coach)
Adair 10U All-Stars Roster
Brandon Petty (head coach)