Adair County had a good day in Springfield Saturday, capturing a pair of District 5 Tournament championships. It took two games for both teams, with the 12U squad dropping their first after cruising through the winners’ bracket, while the 10U team took a pair of must-win games after emerging out of the losers’ bracket.
12U bounces back after shutout loss
The day did not get off to a good start for the older Adair County squad. Needing only one win with two chances to get it, the boys from Columbia dropped their first game to tournament host Washington County—who came out of the losers’ bracket—before righting the ship in the winner-take-all final.
The Adair bats were unusually dormant in the first matchup, managing little offense against Washington County pitcher Jackson Carney. The 2-0 loss was Adair’s first of the tournament.
“We booted the ball a little in the field and our bats were way too quiet to beat a solid Washington County team,” said Adair head coach Robbie Harmon. “We faced a phenomenal pitcher and knew going into the game that we had to hit him to be competitive.”
Kip Dial and Carson Darnell kept the game tight with solid pitching, especially Darnell, who threw the final five innings to earn Player of the Game honors. No team ever wins, however, without scoring a run.
Harmon said that he and the squad’s other coaches encouraged the boys between games to not get down on themselves after the loss. The message was apparently well-received, as the kids bounced back with an emphatic 7 to 2 win to earn the district title.
“After dropping the first game we talked to our boys about how important it was to stay upbeat, still believe in themselves and each other, and know that we can come back and get the second one,” Harmon said.
Adair fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but cleaned up the defense and started to hit the ball as the game wore on.
“After they scored in the first on an error, we brought our kids in and told them that we knew we would have to play some defense and get our swings in at the plate to win the game,” Harmon said. “From that point on, we did exactly that. Our defense came to play, our pitcher threw with an absolute ton of confidence and believed in his defense behind him, and our bats woke up.”
Kaden Burton was sensational on the mound for Adair, giving up only one unearned run and allowing two hits through six innings. He needed only 77 pitches to earn the complete game win. Ty Burwash and Jay Harmon led the way at the plate, with Burwash knocking a pair of triples and a double, while Harmon’s three-run homer in the third put Adair up for good.
Burton and Harmon were named co-Players of the Game for Adair.
Harmon said it was a complete team effort to win the title.
“Every player on our roster contributed in some way,” Harmon said. “We talked yesterday about when it’s their turn to contribute, be ready and want to be in the moment, and our players sure did. We can get into taking about individuals, but honestly every player in the field made a play that positively impacted the win today. Every single player contributed and that’s what it takes to become district champions in a very competitive District 5.”
The 12U squad will be back in action for the State Tournament, set to begin July 16 in LaGrange, Kentucky. The team will play at least three games in pool play, after which the top two teams from each pool will move on to a bracket-style tournament to decide the state’s top 12-and younger Little League team. The championship game will be played July 20.
Harmon thanked the community for their support through the tournament run, and said even more will be needed ahead of state.
“With the state tournament being three games guaranteed and up to a possible five-day tournament, there will be a lot of traveling,” the coach explained. “We will be asking the community for some financial support and prayers for safe travels along the way. We want to make this experience the very best for our players and our families and we know that our community will support us 100 percent.”
Adair 10U steals back-to-back games over Washington County
The younger edition of the Adair All-Stars had to win Friday night in the losers’ bracket finals just to make it to Saturday, and were faced with the tall task of winning two to claim the title. They did exactly that.
“We came into the tournament thinking we had a legit shot to win it,” said Adair Asst. Coach Chad Moore. “After the first game, the ways our boys played on Monday night, I thought we were definitely the frontrunners. We came back on Thursday and did not play our best, had a little lull, had to come back on Friday to play again. We pitched well Friday night and then Saturday our pitching was outstanding again.”
Bentley Petty and Fischer Brown combined to flummox the Washington County offense, holding a talented young squad in check to earn the 6-4 win. Washington threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases, but managed only a single run.
Lundon Moore got the start in the winner-take-all Game 2, nearly going the distance in Adair’s 12-2 win. Brody Jones faced the final two batters to close the door on this one.
“All our kids stepped up and it was a team win from top to bottom,” Moore said. “The kids that didn’t necessarily plays as much, they came in and contributed when they were called upon, and it was a complete team effort win.”
Like their 12U counterparts, the Adair 10U team will begin pool play at state July 16, in LaGrange.