Barboursville wins, heads to state
HUNTINGTON -- Madison Jeffrey never bothered to ponder the magnitude of Saturday's age 10-11 District 1 Little League baseball tournament title game. Never took a moment to put the full wraps around what a win would do for his Barboursville All-Stars.
Why not? Well, it's something his brother wouldn't do.
"He doesn't think," Jeffrey said. "All he does is just throw. He doesn't think about anything."
So with a clear mind, Jeffrey, the young sibling of Cabell Midland High School ace Adam Jeffrey, went out and ... just threw. Threw really well.
Jeffrey allowed two hits and struck out 10 in four innings to lead Barboursville to a resounding 12-1, five-inning win over League 3. Barboursville advances to the state tournament, which begins July 16 in Madison, W.Va.
League 3 will host Vinson, which downed Lavalette 14-8 on Saturday, in the District 1 runner-up game at 2 p.m., Sunday. That winner will also advance to the state tournament.
This is a repeat trip for Barboursville, which fell to Bridgeport in last year's state title game.
Once again, it'll be going with the solid pitching arm of Jeffrey, who had a no-hitter going Saturday until Jacob Straub ripped a double into left field with two outs in the fourth inning.
"Until we went to the bottom of the fourth inning," said Barboursville coach Lance Eastham, "one of the kids on the bench said, 'Does he have a no-hitter?' I said, 'Don't talk about it.' And then the next pitch, (Straub) gets a base-hit.
"But he had a heck of a day."
With an overpowering fastball mixed with a slick curve, Jeffrey struck out the first four batters he faced and seven of the first 11.
"The thing is he was on today," Eastham said. "Last night, we pitched him and he wasn't on at all.
"We told him, 'It's his day today,' and he came out and did his job."
As did his support -- in the field and on the basepaths.
Barboursville had a nearly flawless defensive day, highlighted by a nifty over the shoulder grab by shortstop Zac Napier in the second inning.
On offense, it wasn't about the big hit. It was about getting to home once a player reached base.
Barboursville stole, advanced on wild pitches and took advantage of several passed balls.
"We've got a very fast team," Eastham said. "Besides our four or five hitters, they're all speed. We push them as much as we can. They're 11-years-old, they have to make the plays.
"We'll force you to make a play. That's how we do it. We're very aggressive."
For good measure, though, Barboursville did occasionally take some baseballs for rides to the outfield. Josh Conti had a two-run single in the first inning. Justin Terry drilled a double to the fence in right to score a pair in the fourth.
It was all more than enough for Jeffrey, who fired 87 pitches before finally handing the ball over to Luke Jordan in the fifth.
"It was hard," Jeffrey said. "But my defense just backed me up whenever they needed me."
BARBOURSVILLE 312 42 -- 12 5 1
LEAGUE 3 000 10 -- 1 2 3
Jeffrey, Jordan (5) and Vaughn. Stevens, Straub (4), Dennison (4), Bowen (5) and Bowen, Hiner (4).
Hitting: (B) Terry 2B, 2 RBIs; Conti 2 RBIs; Vaughn RBI. (L) Straub 2B.