For the second straight year, a group of Crawford County baseball players has won a state championship.
The Wabash Valley Cal Ripken 11-year-old all-stars defended the title they won as 10-year-olds last summer, winning the Southern Illinois State Tournament in Charleston over the weekend in dominating fashion.
Wabash Valley won all four of their games in the tournament by at least eight runs. Wabash Valley scored in double digits in each of their four games, on their way to outscoring their opponents 56-12.
Wabash Valley opened the tournament Thursday with a pair of lopsided wins over Charleston Gold, 20-4 and Jasper County, 12-1.
Against Charleston Gold, Wabash Valley took control with a nine-run first inning, then plated six more runs in the second for a 15-0 advantage. Charleston scored four times in the bottom of the second, only to see Wabash Valley come right back with five runs in the top of the third.
The game was stopped after three innings due to the 15-run mercy rule.
Seth Staats led Wabash Valley at the plate with a double, a single and three runs scored, while Landon Roy doubled, singled twice and scored two runs. Elliott Stifle posted two singles and two runs scored, Jeff Hermann doubled and scored twice, Tyler Weber singled and scored three times, Brayden Childress doubled and scored a run, Kaleb Hannahs and Dayton Thurman each singled and scored two runs, Brennen Burkett singled and scored a run and Isaac Buchanan and Evan Newlin scored a run apiece.
Roy earned the win on the mound, allowing four runs on two hits in two innings, while walking six and striking out three. Burkett tossed a scoreless inning of relief, striking out a batter in the process.
In the second game against Jasper County, Wabash Valley actually trailed 1-0 after the top of the first, but they responded to score twice in their half of the first to take the lead, then plated seven runs in the second and three more in the third to pull away for the win.
The game was stopped after four innings due to the 10-run rule.
Roy led the offense for Wabash Valley with a double, a single and two runs scored, while Childress doubled and scored two runs. Burkett singled and scored three times, Hermann added a base hit and a run scored, Staats and Hannahs each scored twice and Weber scored a run.
Hannahs picked up the win on the mound, allowing one run on one hit, while walking one and striking out one in two innings. Childress tossed two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out one.
On Friday, Wabash Valley rolled past Mattoon, 10-2, to reach the title game. Wabash Valley opened with a run in the first inning, then tacked on three runs in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Mattoon got a run in the fourth, while Wabash Valley countered with four runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to extend their advantage to 10-1. Mattoon added a run in the bottom of the sixth, but could not get any closer.
Burkett led Wabash Valley at the plate with a double, two singles and two runs scored, while Hannahs and Childress posted two singles and two runs scored apiece. Weber added a base hit and two runs scored, Thurman had a single and Stifle and Hermann each scored a run.
Hannahs again was the winning pitcher, allowing one run on four hits in four innings, while walking three and striking out two. Childress went the rest of the way, giving up one run on two hits, while walking one and striking out two in two innings of relief.
In Saturday's championship game, Wabash Valley again jumped out to an early lead, then had to wait through a weather delay before completing their 14-5 win over Charleston Red to claim the title.
Wabash Valley plated three runs in the top of the first, while Charleston scored a run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 3-1. Wabash Valley responded with four runs in the second and three more in the third to extend their advantage to 10-1, while Charleston scored once in the third and twice in the fourth to close the gap to 10-4. Wabash Valley tacked on four more runs in the fifth to make the score 14-4, while Charleston scored a run in their half of the fifth, but could not get any more.
Staats led the offense for Wabash Valley with three singles and three runs scored, while Burkett singled three times and scored two runs. Hannahs and Childress posted a double, a single and two runs scored apiece, Thurman doubled and scored a run, Roy singled and scored twice, Maverick Wright singled and scored a run, Stifle posted a pair of base hits, Weber singled and Hermann scored a run.
Roy got the win on the mound, allowing four runs on five hits, while walking five and striking out one in three and two-thirds innings. Burkett gave up a hit and a walk in one-third innings of relief, while Childress allowed a run on three hits, while walking three and striking out one in two innings of work.
With the win, Wabash Valley advances to the Ohio Valley Regional Tournament in Galesburg July 31-Aug. 4.