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MW U-8 Red All-Stars win another district title

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – There are no ‘perfect’ games in U-8 Machine Pitch Baseball, but if there was, the Mount Washington Red All-Stars could have claimed the designation on Tuesday after rolling past St. Matthews 8-0 in the Championship Game of the District xx Tournament that the team was hosting.

     The tournament was hampered by rain after the first night and during one stretch no games were played for four days. Because of that, the event was changed to a single elimination format. That didn’t bother coach Jason Crumbacker’s team as they won four straight contests including two on Monday before the title game with St. Matthews on Tuesday.

     A day later, the team was headed to Elizabethtown for the U-8 Kentucky State Tournament.

     Last year, the same group of boys won the U-7 District and State crowns before doing well in the Regional Tournament, the highest level of play for that age group. Because of that success, the team stayed together this season, playing as the independent Mudcats while the players also competed in the Mount Washington Youth League to qualify to compete in the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken All-Star events in July.

     The practice is fairly common as the Mount Washington Red All-Stars had seen the St. Matthews team several times earlier in the season. The Mount Washington U-8 Gold All-Star team (see story below) was made up of players who played strictly in the MYYBL.

     The shift from a double-elimination format to single-elimination put a little pressure on Crumbacker and his team, but they never wavered.

     “There is always a worry,” the coach said of having no safety net. “I could guarantee that we’d never lose twice in a tournament, but you never know about one game.

     “We worked on the fields everyday and we’d go home with them ready and then it would rain again,” Crumbacker said. “We had no other option (but make it single-elimination).”

     Before the rain, the Mount Washington Red All-Stars had defeated Fern Creek Black by a 10-2 score on a Wednesday. Crumbacker’s team had trailed in that game 2-0. Then the rains came and the team did not play again until Monday. That day started with a 17-3 win over Jeffersontown White and then the team came right back and beat Jeffersontown Maroon 10-4, a game in which they trailed 4-0.

     That set up the showdown with St. Matthews in the final on Tuesday. The two teams had met ten days earlier in the final of another tournament with Mount Washington winning 8-7.

     Needless to say, Crumbacker expected a tougher game than the 8-0 final. The Mount Washington defense did not make a single ‘error’ and St. Matthews sent just one batter to the plate over the minimum for a five-inning game.

       St. Matthews had two singles in the game. One of those base runners was erased on a double play while the other was left stranded.

     (An Under-8 All-Star game is normally a six-inning contest with a seven-run limit per inning. When St. Matthews failed to score in the top of the fifth inning, the game was stopped at that point.)

     This time the Red All-Stars jumped on top early and never looked back. Crumbacker’s team scored twice in the first inning and then broke the game open with four runs n the second. After a scoreless frame, Mount Washington scored twice in the bottom of the fourth-inning to set up the early finish.

     Batting 11 players in the rotation (ten play in the field each inning), Mount Washington had ten ‘hits’. The second batter in the line-up, Ethan Morris, had a pair of triples and he drove home three of the runs. Mount Washington also got two hits from lead-off batter Camron Brogan as well as doubles by Jackson Crumbacker and Ryan Daugherty. A single by Luke Smith drove in the last two runs.

     The defense carried the day in the final.

     “That was amazing,” Crumbacker said. “We preach defense, but we can hit the ball pretty well also.”

     “We’ve had this group together for three years now. That’s stability,” the former Bullitt East basketball standout added. “They know their roles and they are really good at their jobs. I’ve never seen a group like them.”

     Members of the Mount Washington Red Under-8 All-Star team included Jackson Crumbacker, Brady Westwood, Patrick Ballard, Luke Smith, Colin Elder, Camron Brogan, Nolan Davenport, Kaeden Russ, Jayden Gajdik, Kanin Hampton, Ryan Daugherty and Ethan Moore.

     Jason Crumbacker is the head coach for the team and he is assisted by Keith Brogan, John Elder, Jimmy Westwood and Jerry Morris.