The Edmonson County 12U All Star team traveled to Scottsville, KY and played in the Western Kentucky Cal Ripken State Tournament July 12-16. The boys began pool play on Thursday against District Champion Green County and fell in hard fought battle 7-4. This after losing to Green in the District tournament 17-7. “We didn’t play well at all in the District Tournament," said coach Terry Alexander. "I told these young men at the beginning of the All Star season that I was excited about the talent we had on this team and I told them we were a solid team. They were slow to respond but when they did, wow..."
After the loss to Green County on Thursday night, EC beat Henderson 16-6 in five innings in a late game that didn't end until around midnight. “You could see it in these young men’s eyes. They were starting to realize they were a solid team and could compete with anyone,"Alexander said.
Saturday was the first day of single elimination play. EC was a #1 seed because of win losses among teams during Pool Play. EC's first game was against Cumberland County/ Burkesville, and once again solid pitching and defense along with another game of hard hitting gave EC the 12-2 victory. “We had outstanding pitching by Will Alexander and Will Edwards that kept their batters off balance the whole game.” Edwards had two home runs and Colby Woodcock added another one during the game. “When everybody is hitting well and you have runners on base, these home runs are huge," Alexander added. "Several of our players had multiple hits during this game.”
On Sunday afternoon, EC faced Grayson County in the semi-finals, which would turn out to be a pitcher’s duel throughout. Colby Vincent notched the win in a solid complete game performance. “Colby silenced Grayson’s bats. Some clutch defensive plays also were crucial.” EC was held scoreless until late in the game when Will Edwards hit a two-run blast to tie the game 2-2. Later after Colby Vincent doubled, he scored on an infield hit by Jesse Taylor. With EC up 3-2 in the top of the 6th inning EC’s defense, led by Colby Vincent’s pitching, retired Grayson County, three-up-three-down to win the game and move to the Championship Game against a high caliber Hancock County team later that night.
“Although we knew we had another game to play, myself, Coach Richie Minyard, and Coach Shawn McCombs wanted these young men to celebrate something that no other Edmonson County team has done and that’s making it to the championship game of the Cal Ripken State Tournament.”
After numerous high fives, hugs, and group pictures, EC refocused and played the championship game against Hancock County. Things didn't go well for EC in this one as they fell to Hancock County 17-0. “We knew coming into this game that Hancock County was the favorite and every coach I talked to said they had no answer for their explosive hitting. The majority of their team are on travel teams that play practically year round. Hancock County is very deserving of the Championship trophy. With that said, I couldn’t be more proud of the opportunity to help coach this group of Edmonson County All Stars," said Alexander.
He also credited the other members of the coaching staff, Richie Minyard and Shawn McCombs, who he said were invaluable.
"I was selected as the head coach but we bounced ideas off each other, defensive and offensive strategies, and just about anything else off each other and went from there.”
After all was said and done, Alexander said it was the young men that deserved credit for their accomplishments.
“I can’t say enough about this group of All Stars. They are hard-nosed, gritty, and play the game of baseball the way a coach, parent, and or fan would want the game played. We beat some really good teams in this tournament. Teams that had a much larger pool of players to choose their All Stars from because of the size of their counties. These young men stepped up and represented Edmonson County in a great way."
The first-runner up finish will qualify the team to compete in the 2017 U.S. Regional National Championship, held in South Bend, IN.