Baldwin is DCABA title town
12-year-olds rally for third crown
It proved to be the third time was the charm for Baldwin's 12-year-old Douglas County Amateur Baseball Association team on the home field Monday night.
Baldwin used a dramatic come-from-behind effort to down the Lawrence Chargers 9-7 to claim a share of the league title. Both teams finished the year with 19-5 records. The Chargers had beaten Baldwin twice before, so Monday's victory was especially sweet.
"It was a nice way to finish the season," said coach John Jackson. "That team had beaten us twice by one run. The kids were pumped."
They were especially pumped after the rally in the bottom of the last inning that brought the title. Trailing 7-6, it was time for the rally caps.
"Carson Wood hit a home run to tie it," Jackson said. "Then we tacked on two more runs and the time limit was over. Alex Cullumber and Blake Jackson combined for the win. They both pitched well."
Baldwin also had plenty of crowd support for the game that moved from Saturday to Monday. Both teams won the three games last week they needed to, which set up the showdown for the league crown. The Lawrence team wouldn't have had enough players to play Saturday, so instead of taking a forfeit, Baldwin chose to play on Monday. It brought a packed house at "The Lot," the name given to the Babe Ruth field.
"It was packed and everyone was pumped," he said.
They didn't go away disappointed, either. The rally for the win followed the team's season-long run of come-backs and close games.
"We lost five games by a total of seven runs. We could have been undefeated. It was a great year," said Jackson, who added the season didn't get off to such a rosy start. "We were 2-3 to start the year and came back to finish 19-5. I had no idea at the beginning of the year how we'd do. I didn't know if we'd be at the top, bottom or middle of the league because I didn't know what the competition would be like. We won a lot of close ones. Everyone contributed."
Baldwin counted on the pitching of Cullumber, Jackson and Alan Callahan. Everyone chipped in offensively and the team was boosted at the end by Connor Wright, who had a couple of big hits and drove in runs in Monday's title game.
It was the third DCABA league title for Baldwin. The 9- and 10-year-old teams won league championships earlier. Rainouts caused the delay in the 12-year-old division.
"We weren't the only Baldwin team that didn't win it," Jackson said.
And, it's not over yet. Because of the delay, the league tournament started Tuesday night. It's hoped that the tourney can be completed this week.
"We started over last night with the tournament," he said. "Maybe we'll finally get the season finished this week."
What a season it's been, too.
"It sure has been a great year," said Jackson.