Crossett is now home of the 2018 15U Babe Ruth State Champions, and the team is soon to be bound for the regional tournament.
The Crossett 15U All Stars — under the coaching leadership of Eddie Golden, Robert Wright and David Rice — brought home the 2018 State Championship title from the state tournament in Pine Bluff earlier this month.
The team went undefeated for the first three games, but lost in the championship game moving them to the “if” game on the bracket.
In the first game with Zeke Hopper on the mound, Crossett rolled past Stuttgart, and after three innings the mercy rule ended the game at 17-2. Hopper allowed no hits and struck out five before Stetson Bishop stepped in to relieve him. Bishop finished the last inning only allowing one hit. Jack Rice, Chase Golden, Bishop, Cooper Williams and Brock Wright all hit singles, and Kason Brooks hit a single and a double.
The second game was an 11-4 win over Sylvan Hills. Zeke Hopper and Chase Golden split the time on the mound. Hopper allowed two hits and struck out three, and Golden allowed only one hit and struck out five. To score the 11 points, Williams took the mound for the final inning and allowed no hits. Bishop, Williams and Wright all hit singles, and Rice and Brooks each hit two singles. Mason Taunton hit a single and a double.
The third game was a close one, with Crossett only coming out 3-2 over Pine Bluff North. Hopper pitched four innings, allowed four hits and struck out three. Rice pitched the last three innings, struck out five and allowed no hits. Rice, Wright and Taunton were the only Crossett players to get hits.
The win against Pine Bluff North sent Crossett to the top of the winner’s bracket, and Pine Bluff North won out the loser’s bracket to face Crossett again.
Crossett was undefeated and would only have to beat Pine Bluff once to claim the title, but there was an “if” game on the bracket in the event that Crossett lost the first game.
Pine Bluff North forced Crossett to the if game after beating them 7-5, but Crossett redeemed themselves in the if game with a 7-2 win for the state title.
In the bottom of the fourth inning the score was tied two-all, but Crossett loaded the bases. Hopper stepped up and hit a line drive double to the left of center field, bringing in three runs for Crossett. Golden stepped up behind him and hit a single that brought Hopper in to give Crossett a four-point lead over Pine Bluff North.
“Golden singled to score Hopper making it 6-2, and we never looked back after that,” Coach Wright said.
Throughout the game Brooks, Bishop and Dawson Moore all got on base with singles and Rice hit a single and a double.
Golden was credited as the winning pitcher. He pitched five innings and only allowed three hits. Cooper Williams closed out the game with three strikeouts and only one hit.
The team will now advance to the Babe Ruth Southwest Regional Tournament to be played in Adulusia, Ala. Their first game will be 10 a.m. Friday against Patterson, La.
In addition to Rice, Hopper, Brooks, Golden Wright, Taunton, Williams, Bishop and Moore, Landon Meeks, Wesley Priestley and Keyshawn Hawkins are on the Crossett roster.
The pitchers include Rice, who also plays shortstop; Hopper, who also plays second and left; Golden, who also plays first base; Williams, who also plays second and short; and Bishop who also plays third.
Wright is the starting catcher and Brooks plays center field. Taunton is either on third or in left field depending on who is on the mound. Moore, Hawkins, Meeks and Priestly rotate right field and pinch hit and pinch run when needed.