River Jaxx 13-U Baseball nabs runner-up honors at Myrtle Beach

Players shake hands after well-played game.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The boys and coaching staff for the 13-and-under River Jaxx traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to compete in the Ripken Experience tournament, which kicked off on Monday, July 4 and wrapped up with the championship game on Friday, July 8. The 13-and-under River Jaxx boys racked up a 6-2 overall record in the Ripken Experience, taking home tournament runner-up honors with countless priceless memories made during this high-level travel ball competition with state-of-the-art facilities. 

The Jaxx boys got the tournament started off on the right foot, beating Game Ready (Maryland) by a final score of 5-3. Both teams got off to slow starts offensively, only combining to score a single run apiece through the first three innings. The game opened in the fourth inning, as the Jaxx boys scored three runs to seize control of the lead. The fourth inning explosion provided just enough cushion for the Jaxx Boys to hold off Game Ready and pick up the win in the opening game of the tournament.

Jaxon Spratt got the starting nod for River Jaxx against Game Ready, only seeing a single full inning of action on the mound before being relieved by Grayson Campbell. Spratt allowed two hits and one run, while striking out one and walking three. On the other hand, Campbell allowed one hit and one run, while striking out three and walking one.  

Finally, the River Jaxx team turned to closer Andrew Nesbitt to seal the deal out of the bullpen. Nesbitt was credited with the victory for River Jaxx after recorded the last twelve outs of the game to seal the win. Nesbitt lasted on the mound for four innings, only allowing one run on one hit, while striking out three and walking just one earning the save.  

The next day on Tuesday, July 5; the Jaxx boys picked up a pair of dominate wins over Michigan teams, cruising past both the Red Seam Raiders (Michigan) and Michigan Cyclones Elite to move to 3-0 after two days of play.  

In game one of the day two doubleheader, the River Jaxx boys built an early lead and never looked back, beating the Red Seam Raiders by a final score of 15-5. The Jaxx boys wasted no time getting the party started, as Spratt doubled in the first inning to drive home the game’s opening score. Following Spratt’s score, the Jaxx boys slowly built a 5-3 lead over the game’s first three innings before exploding for four runs in the fourth and five runs in the sixth to close out any hope the Raiders had of mounting a late comeback.  

Brody McDaniels earned honors as the winning pitcher in game two, lasting three innings on the mound, only allowing three runs and three hits, while striking out seven batters. Maddox Boggs threw three innings in relief of McDaniels out of the bullpen, only giving up two hits and two runs, while striking out three. Offensively, the Jaxx boys showed out collecting thirteen hits as a team, with Spratt, Nesbitt, Boggs, Colton Edwards and Weldon Zirkle all racked up multiple hits. 

In Tuesday’s second game, Spratt, Zirkle and Jaxson McNally combined to pitch a shutout en route to their team cruising past the Michigan Cyclones Elite 13-and-under team by a final score of 20-0. The Jaxx boys utterly overwhelmed the opposition on both sides of the ball in this one, only allowing a single hit, while racking up eighteen of their own. Spratt was the star of game two, both getting the starting nod at pitcher and finishing the game with a perfect 4-4 at the plate.  

The Jaxx boys and coaching staff entered day three of the tournament boasting an undefeated record, a fact that wouldn’t change after their first game Wednesday morning as they picked up their third straight blowout victory, beating the Florida Swingers by a final score of 17-5 to move to 4-0. The Jaxx boys left little doubt in this one, exploding for 11 runs over the span of just the first two innings of play. Weldon proved his near limitless versatility as a player as he both took the win for River Jaxx boys over the Swingers from the pitcher’s mound and leading the team in hits with three. The young righty ace lasted five innings, only allowing five hits and five runs, while striking out three, while also scoring three runs and driving in a pair of RBIs. 

In their second game on Wednesday, July 6, the River Jaxx boys lost a close game with the Bay Sox 

(Massachusetts). The Bay Sox opened the game up hot, scoring four runs in the first inning to build a lead that the Jaxx boys couldn’t quite overcome despite some late heroics in a valiant last-ditch comeback attempt. The loss dropped the Jaxx boys overall record through the first two three days of the Ripken Experience tournament to 4-1, setting them up as the fourth seed in tournament play at the beginning of the elimination round on Thursday morning. 

Coming off their first loss during the Ripken Experience tournament, the Jaxx boys went into their only game on Thursday, July 7 with something to prove. This resilient River Jaxx team did just that, overcoming a tough challenge from the Fredrick Rangers (Maryland) and picking up a 5-2 win. Nesbitt picked up the win for the Jaxx boys on the mound, allowing seven hits and two runs over the span of six and a third innings pitched, striking out three and walking zero. Campbell threw two-thirds of an inning in relief out of the bullpen in relief of Nesbitt, finishing out the game strong. Spratt was the lone Jaxx boy to record a multiple hit game, finishing with two hits, one run and a RBI. 

The win over the Fredrick Rangers got things back on track for the Jaxx boys and set up a rematch with the Bay Sox first in Friday, July 8’s late semi-final game with a spot in the championship game on the line. These two talented teams battled it out in a seemingly even-matched duel, going back and forth until the Jaxx boys earned the win on a pair of late game scores in the top of the ninth inning that broke the stalemate. There was plenty of fireworks in this one as both teams collected twelve hits apiece. Despite all the action they were seeing in the field, the fundamentally sound River Jaxx team didn’t commit a single error all game long. McDaniels was seemingly doing it all for the River Jaxx defense, making plays on twelve separate occasions, doing all he could to deliver his team a win. 

Nesbitt turned in a dominate performance in the early goings of this game, not allowing a single hit nor run nor walk over the span of his two innings on the mound, all the while striking out two batters. 

Campbell, McDaniels and Spratt each had multiple hit games for River Jaxx in their epic rematch with the Bay Sox. McDaniels and Campbell tied for the team lead in terms of hits with three each to pace the River Jaxx offense as they managed to earn redemption against the Bay Sox.  

The dramatic win over the Bay Sox afforded the River Jaxx team a shot at the Ripken Experience crown, as they advanced to the title game to play the Diamond Iron Colts (Pennsylvania). The Jaxx boys stayed in it until the very end, only trailing by a score of 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning, however watched the game slip from their grasp during a seven run sixth inning from the Iron Colts.  

Despite an amazing run as they ripped through the competition at the Ripken Experience tournament, they fell short in the championship game by a final score of 5-4. 

While the River Jaxx team had no trouble making contact on Friday, they weren’t quite generating the massive offensive runs like they had all tournament long, losing the championship game despite out-hitting Pride of the Iron Colts by a ten to nine margin. Campbell, McNally and McDaniels each recorded a multiple hit outing against the Iron Colts in the loss, with each finishing with two hits apiece. 

McDaniels took the tough championship game loss for the River Jaxx team on the mound, despite only giving up three runs on six hits over the span of four innings pitched. 

In spite of the loss, the River Jaxx boys demonstrated that the Mountain State is witnessing a renaissance in terms of baseball talent, as they shredded through most of the high-level out-of-state opponents they matched up against. The River Jaxx program will look to keep proving that North Central West Virginia is a hotbed for talented baseball players and will remain so for years to come as they continue playing through the remainder of their Summer 2022 schedule.

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