Jim Thorpe cruises to title
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe's Jared Joyce looks to slide under the tag of Hazleton catcher Oliver Martinez.
It might be cliché, but the sports adage offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships has been proven true time and time again.
On Tuesday night, The Jim Thorpe 9 & 10 year old little league team once again brought that theory to fruition.
Simply put, Thorpe played the game of baseball the right way in all facets, dominating Hazleton 11-1 in four innings, to claim the District 18 9 & 10 year old Little League Championship.
With a score like 11-1, some would ask how the JT offense wasn't considered the star of the show on Tuesday? In the sport of baseball, unlike any other the statistics always speak for themselves.
The JT defense didn't allow a single base runner until a walk in the fourth, eventually allowing Hazleton to score their one and only run on a ground out. Thorpe's defense was on lock down throughout the night, making play after play, thwarting Hazleton's every attempt to get base runners.
"The game plan for tonight was to get them to hit the ball on the ground on every at bat," said JT coach Ryan Hurley. "Our pitcher Caiden (Hurley) does a good job of that and that's what we put the emphasis on tonight. We knew with how good of a defensive club that we have, that if we got a lot of ground balls, we could lock them down. The kids did a great job and came through."
Jim Thorpe's entire defense was instrumental in their stellar play, but there was no denying that Thorpe pitcher Caiden Hurley and shortstop Jared Joyce brought their "A" game on Tuesday.
Hurley pitched four strong, allowing just one hit and allowed just two batters on base throughout the entire ball game. Even more impressive was the fact that Hurley threw just 39 pitches in his four innings of work.
Words can't do justice to Joyce's performance, who did his best impression of Derek Jeter on many occasions. The youngster served as a steel trap for JT, snatching up every ball that came his way.
"We just came up against a very good team tonight," said Hazleton coach John Herness. "Their shorstop took away a couple of hits for us as well, he's a real good player. We just didn't hit the ball very well in this tournament and Hurley did a good job throwing strikes and their defensive backed him up."
Thorpe took control of the ball game in the third and fourth inning, scoring 10 runs in that span. Joyce and Jared Marykwas collected a hit and an RBI a piece in the third, while Hurley drove in two runs in the fourth. Joyce chipped in once again, driving in two runs in the fourth as well. Chris Condly and Carlos Magabot also collected a hit a piece in the fourth.
Jim Thorpe will now move on to the Section Six Tournament and will play on Monday against the District 29 Champion (Pocono). The Pocono area team will host the Section Six Tournament.
"These are a great group of kids, " said Hurley. "I've been coaching with them since they've been seven and eight years old and they've always done everything I've asked of them. It's just a great team and I hope we're right here again next year."
JT Blue 014 6 - 11 7 0
Hazleton 000 1 - 1 1 2
Hurley and Hubbard; Burkhardt, Herron and O. Martinez ; W - Hurley. L - Burkhardt.