The Junction City Jays 9U baseball team traveled to McPherson for their second tournament of the season. The team finished the weekend 3-1 finishing the round-robin tournament in second place.
The weekend started with a 8-7 victory over one of the host teams, McPherson White.
McPherson opened the game as the visitor and took advantage of a lead off walk and a one-out single to right field to score a run in their first at bat.
Junction City, who escaped disaster on a fielders choice by getting the final out on the way to the plate responded with four runs of their own in the bottom-half of the inning.
Yeniel Rivera-Solo dropped a one-out double into centerfield to get into scoring position early. A stolen base and a dropped third strike while Luis Cubero Jr. was at bat allowed him to score.
Cubero Jr. safely reached base on the play and would score moments later.
Cooper Ricard and Braxton Stroda would reach the base path in the inning and add the final two runs onto the scoreboard for the Jays.
Stroda got the nod to start for the Jays and with the help of his defense kept the McPherson squad from scoring in the second inning.
Kellen Kemper stepped up to the plate with two outs before he hit a shot to left field for a base hit. Three stolen bases later while Darren Ferrer was at bat, Kemper scored.
Ferrer watched ball four slide past him as he advanced to first base. Ferrer stolen second and third before taking home on a wild pitch before the inning ending on a strikeout.
Both McPherson and the Jays added a run — White in the third and Junction City in the fourth — allowing the Jays to maintain their lead.
McPherson scrambled for five runs in the fifth inning to tie the game entering the final half-inning.
With one out, Ferrer stepped to the plate for his second at bat. After taking strike one and watching two balls fly past him, he hit two fouls before straightening out his shot to center for a single.
Two stolen bases later he was primed for the victory.
He watched John Keeling Jr. advance to first on a walk before stealing home as Cade Snider was up to secure the victory for the Jays.
The Jays second game was against Manhattan’s Barn Baseball Academy Barnstormers. The Barnstormers rallied on a six-run third inning to take control of the game, even though the Jays responded with six runs of their own, to take the 11-7 victory.
The two teams were tied, 1-1, after the first inning before the Barnstormers added four runs in the second while holding the Jays scoreless. The long third inning found the Jays pitchers facing 11 batters with six runs crossing the plate in the process.
Determined to go down swinging, the Jays responded with six runs of their own before the game was called with Manhattan taking the win.
Rivera-Soto scored two runs in the game with Snider, Zayden Nevill, Keith Thompson, Kemper and Keeling Jr. all adding runs to the board for the Jays.
The loss ended the first day of play for the Jays.
On Sunday, the team presented their coaches and fathers with two wins to end the day perfect.
The day started with a nail-biter finish with the Jays defeating the Hutchison Hornets 12-11 thanks to heads up running by Thompson in the bottom of the third inning.
Hutch jumped on the board first, scoring three runs in the top-half of the first inning.
Junction City, not to be out shined, scored five runs.
The scoring fest started with a single by Snider and ended with a passed ball that allowed Kemper to score from third. During the inning Snider, Rivera-Soto, Nevill, Joshua Berry and Kemper crossed the plate.
Hutch fired back with two runs in the second inning to tie the game before Junction City run-ruled the bottom-half of the inning scoring six runs to take the lopsided 11-5 lead.
Hutch responded with six runs of their own in the third inning taking advantage of seven straight walks before the inning ended with a 11-11 tie.
Tied the Jays needed one run to cross for the victory. With one out, Thompson stepped up to the plate and watched four straight pitches called as balls to take the hard trip to first base. He stole second before two wild pitches, including the fourth ball during Ricard’s at bat, went past the catcher allowing Thompson the opportunity to score and earn the win for the Jays.
The day and tournament ended with a showdown against another local team and Junction City batting first as the visitors — something new during the tournament.
The Jays placed four runs on the board against McPherson Red before adding five in the second inning. Junction City held McPherson to four runs after two innings and took their one-run advantage to the third inning where they added three final runs.
McPherson fired back with six runs to pull within runs of the Jays before both teams went three up and three down in the fourth inning.
The Jays ended their offensive prowess by getting caught in an inning ending double-play while McPherson went down swinging, never leaving the plate.
With the tournament over, the Jays advanced to 7-3 on the season and will hit the road again next weekend.