The 11u Super 25 National Championship was a rematch from the day before. The East Cobb Astros 11u faced off against the Arkansas Express, the same team the Astros beat on Saturday 10-2 to advance to the finals. Darron Sutton once against provided the broadcast for this game as well to build the atmosphere into something that mirrored a professional ballgame.
East Cobb started where they left off the day before by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks in part to an RBI single by Bradley Frye. They also added a run in the third on another RBI single by Frye to lead 3-0.
Then, the game changed dramatically in the top of the fourth inning. The Express pounded out six runs to take a 6-3 lead. Starting pitcher Markevian Hence led the inning off with a solo home run to start the rally. A double by Hunter Elliott and a single by Cooper Combs provided the Express with five runs.
The Astros were in a very unfamiliar spot having raced through pool play and bracket play having not lost a game. In the bottom of the fifth, Frye connected on a third RBI single to pull the team within two runs. But, a leadoff homerun by Nicholas Griffin in the top of the sixth made the score 7-4 and added an insurance run for the Express.
The Astros would not go down easy though. Gunner Stockton lined a base hit that scored one to pull the game to 7-5 with only one out and two runners on. But, the Express got the next two batters to fly out and groundout to secure the win and a national title.
Austin Ledbetter of the Express picked up MV-Pitcher honors for his impressive outings. He pitched 10.2 innings, allowing just one earned run. He also struck out an incredible 14 hitters and only walked two, while finishing with an astounding .562 ERA.
James Tibbs of the Astros, the runner-up in the home run derby received the MVP award. He finished the tournament batting .500 (9-18) with an impressive 10 RBI and 13 runs scored. He also showed off his power connecting on 5 homeruns.
Jim Jaggers, the head coach for the Express, was proud of the way his team performed against the caliber of competition they faced this week.
“It’s a big deal,” Jaggers said of winning the national championship.
“We’ve seen a lot of good baseball teams, and we’ve seen some teams as good as the teams here, but I don’t think we’ve played an entire tournament against the level of competition that we faced here this week. And, it was really impressive to see the boys compete all week long and be able to handle it.”