The Wendell Blue Coach Pitch and Midget League All-Star teams brought home the heavy hardware from the Tar Heel Leagues state baseball tournaments held July 30-Aug. 2 in Washington.
The Coach Pitch (7-8-year-olds) team is composed of Ben Carter, Will Connolly, Weston Dixon, Jordan Driver, Colby Marshburn, Briggs McKenzie, Elijah Pittman, Sam Privette, Jackson Sherron, Zach Taylor and Jon Vinson; and coaches Matt Driver, Mike Connolly, Chris Dixon, Fred Privette and Rusty Taylor.
Making up the Midget League (9-10-year-olds) team are Gavin Alford, Edward Apple, Jake Barbour, Brett Fuller, William Helms, Wyatt Holbrook, Drew Lanphere, Cameron Long, Aaron Measley, Dean Wall and Dean Williams; and coaches Kevin Barbour, Greg Fuller, Kevin Measley and Jody Wall.
The Coach Pitch crew’s state title marked the end of a 13-0 run in three tournaments over the summer. The championship came with repeat wins over Louisburg, 12-5 and 9-6, after Wendell defeated Williamston (12-4), Caldwell County-A (14-0) and Edenton (16-1).
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The team’s combined batting average for the state tournament was .471. Jon Vinson led Wendell in hits (11) and runs scored (11), while Jordan Driver notched the team’s lone home run of the tournament in the championship game.
Wendell had also defeated Louisburg in its final two games of the Tar Heel Leagues District VI Coach Pitch tournament. Louisburg played close but loss the first game 7-6 before Wendell Blue rolled to an 11-0 victory to claim the title and advance to the state round. Wendell’s other district-round wins were 15-4 over Wendell White and 7-4 over Garner.
The summer had a promising start for the Wendell Coach Pitch crew, as it cruised past four opponents by a combined score of 61-13 to win the Southern Johnston Baseball Association Invitational.
Having already won their state championship, the 9-10 Wendell Blue All Stars got to watch the 7-8 Blue team’s final game state tournament game and rushed the field to celebrate their younger counterparts’ mutual success.
The Midget League team avenged an opening-round loss to Washington with two straight wins over that same team (13-0 in three innings and 8-6) to earn the title of state champion – marking a repeat state title from 2014 for many players on the team. The win was the grand finale to an 11-game summer in which Wendell Blue outscored its opponents 139-16.
Other wins for Wendell Blue in the Midget League state tournament were 18-3 over Cleveland in four innings, 17-1 over Hickory in three innings, 17–2 over SJBA in three innings and 10-0 over East Chatham in three innings.
Wendell Blue had won the District VI tournament in Knightdale with wins over Garner (14-1, four innings), Louisburg (12-0, three innings), Garner (13-2, four innings), and Knightdale (17-0, three innings). Smacking home runs for the Wendell 9-10 All Stars in both tournaments were Brett Fuller (5), Dean Wall (4), Edward Apple (2), and Drew Lanphere and Dean Williams (1 each). One of Apple’s home runs was a grand slam.
The Wendell White Coach Pitch All Stars also competed in the state tournament, bowing out with a 1-2 record.
The Wendell White Coach Pitch All Stars are Camden Bowers, Mason Brantley, Jordan Fuentes, Charlie Goad-Cortes, Hayden Hopkins, Caleb Johnson, Paddy Kennedy, Trevor Norton, Joshua Pollard, LJ Rush and CJ Whitaker; and coaches Chris Whitaker, Brandon Johnson, Jason Hopkins and Scott Bowers.
Caldwell County-A dismissed Wendell 6-4 in the team’s third game of the event. The local All Stars defeated the Wilkes County Nationals, 9-7, in their second game to bounce back from an 11-5 loss to Four Oaks in the opening round.
Wendell White’s district-round scores are as follows: (G5) Louisburg 15, Wendell 14; (G4) Wendell 13, Garner 7; (G3) Wendell 13, Rolesville 5; (G2) Wendell Blue 15, Wendell White 4; (G1) Wendell 13, Bunn 2.
Wendell White’s game results from the SJBA Invitational are as follows: (G3) Four Oaks 10, Wendell 1; (G2) Wendell 12, Nash County 0; (G1) Wendell 7, McGee’s Crossroads 6.