Wayne County Lumberjack’s Are Missouri State Champions

The Senior Babe Ruth Wayne County Lumberjacks, coached by Jeff Null, is a team consisting of 9 Greenville students, 2 Clearwater students, 1 East Carter student and 2 Twin River students. The team first played together on June 1st. Over the past 7 weeks, the team has traveled to Nebraska, Arkansas and throughout Southeast Missouri and are now on their way to Kansas (later this week).

Starting this past Wednesday, the Lumberjacks have been competing in the Senior Babe Ruth Missouri State Tournament in Charleston. Game 1 had Blake Kearbey on the mound for the Lumberjacks facing the Potosi Elks. The Elks lead 2-0 in the bottom of the 7th as the Jacks came up for their final chance. With 2 outs and a 2-strike count, Tristan Holmes brought in the tying runs with a double followed by a Lumberjacks’ walk-off hit by Bryce Alcorn which pushed Holmes in and the team into the winners’ bracket of the double elimination tournament.

Game 2 versus New Madrid River Ducks was a pitchers’ duel with Trey McDaniel on the mound for the Lumberjacks. McDaniel brought home a 1-0 win.

Game 3 got off to a terrible start for pitcher Bryce Alcorn as 6 runs were plated off of 3 errors in the first inning. But inning by inning the Lumberjacks chipped away at the lead and won their second come-from-behind win with a score of 10-8 against the hometown hosts, Charleston Fighting Squirrels.

The final day of the tournament brought the Fighting Squirrels back up from the losers’ bracket to face the Lumberjacks for the state title. Charleston carried the lead into the 4th inning with a 3-1 score. Jake Dorris pushed in one run and brought Ben Becker to the plate with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Becker hit a shot toward the gap in right center that would have easily scored two on a double had it not been for the literal flying Squirrel who leaped to steal the show. Most, including the local ESPN broadcaster, agreed it was probably the best play at 2nd in Charleston’s storied past.

Missouri State Champions
Missouri State Champions

Trynt Tompkins knocked in McDaniel to tie the score in the fifth. Becker came back up with the scored tied in the sixth with pinch runner Lathan Backburn on 1st.

Becker pushed a bloop single over 1st base into right field and,¬†beckoned by Coach Null at rhird base, Blackburn rounded second and headed to third. The throw from right field to 3rd was too late and Becker took advantage of the throw by pressing to 2nd. The throw to second base bounced into the grass of right which sent Blackburn racing home to beat the throw at the plate and Becker again took 3rd on the throw. Becker scored on the next at bat by McDaniel and returned to the dugout laughing, “What just happened!?!”

The Lumberjacks’ pitcher Blake Kearbey held the top of the 7th with a one-hit inning and the players dog-piled on him on the field with the scoreboard declaring a 6-3 championship victory.

The Lumberjacks, now, head to the Babe Ruth Midwest-Plains Regional Tournament in Lyons, Kansas, to face an 8-team field from Kansas, Iowa, North Dakotas, Colorado, Minnesota and Saskatchewan, July 23 through the 27th. The winner of the Regional Tournament will head to Oregon for the Babe Ruth World Series.

The team is planning a number of fundraiser events to help pay for the estimated $3,000 it will cost the team for the 5-day tournament. For those wanting to make a donation, please check out their GoFundMe campaign.

Photos of the last two games are available here.


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