The Clay Youth League 11'-and-under team that will compete this weekend at Forest Park in the state tourney are: (front row- l-r) Kole Smith, Travis Hakman, Cole Watts, Craig Peters, TJ Decker and Ben Denker. (Middle row l-r) Coleman Craig, Bryant Pestoff, Zach Hull, Brock Wheeler, Jordan Girton and Stepehen Watts. (Back row l-r) Manager Joe Pestoff, Coaches Chris Howard, Chuck Peters and Jon Hull.
The Clay Youth League 11-and-under squad excelled during double duty over the July 4 weekend, winning a pair of tournaments, including a district championship that propels them to state competition.
The CYL 11's traveled to Plainfield to compete in a holiday tournament for their first game of the hectic weekend. In their opener, they downed the host Plainfield squad by a 5-2 count as Zach Hull, T.J. Decker and Coleman Craig combined to shut down their opponents in a 5-2 win. The group combined to allow just one hit while striking out seven.
Jordan Girton doubled in the game along with Craig and Bryant Pestoff had a pair of singles in the win.
The 11's would drop a close 3-1 decision in their second game of the tourney. Fall Creek would score a pair of fifth inning runs to edge out the CYL squad despite a single and double from Ben Denker.
The defeat only intensified the CYL focus when they traveled to district play to take on Shakamak in Greencastle.
The 11's overpowered their Greene County opponents by a 15-4 cushion, tallying six first inning runs to begin the rout.
Cole Watts singled twice, Pestoff had a single and double, Decker added a pair of singles and Craig had two doubles in the victory.
Back at the Plainfield tourney, the CYL squad dropped the hammer on Carmel in a 13-1 romp with Hull and Bryant combining for five scoreless innings and seven strikeouts. Pestoff had a four hit game and Craig Peters added a single and double. Hull and Brock Wheeler both added two hits for the winners.
Back on the road, the CYL 11's moved back to district play for an 8-0 victory over the host Greencastle squad as Decker threw the complete game shutout, striking out eight.
At the plate, Hull had a single and a triple and Girton added a single and a double to send the 11's into the district championship game.
Once more the CYL squad headed back to Plainfield where they had a matchup with Brownsburg that they won handily by a 15-1 margin as Craig, Decker and Hull combined for the decision.
The 11's scored 10 runs in a decisive third inning as Pestoff, Peters and Decker all tripled in the frame with Travis Hakman adding a double and a single in the game.
Girton and Hull each singled twice and Watts walked three times to give the CYL a rematch with the only team that beat them.
In the title game, the CYL squad jumped out quick with five runs in the opening frame as Hakman walked to open the inning before Peters singled and Girton hit into a fielder's choice to score a run. Pestoff was hit by a pitch before Hull singled and Decker doubled. Stephen Watts would also single as the 11's took a lead they wouldn't give up.
Hakman would add a double and a single in the game and Decker would double once more with Girton singling once again.
Decker would also finish the game on the mound with three innings of relief, allowing one run and striking out six as the CYL squad won 7-4 for the tourney title.
Later that same day, the CYL squad returned to face Greencastle for the district championship which they won comfortably, 14-4.
Peters had a pair of singles along with a homerun in the game and Decker singled and doubled in the contest.
On the mound, Hull finished the game in relief of Craig, who struckout eight. Hull pitched three scoreless innings while striking out four.
The victory sends the CYL squad into the state tournament which will take place this weekend at Forest Park.
They will begin play on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. by taking on Cloverdale.
Also competing in the state will be Vincennes, Newburgh, Greencastle, Ellettsville and Bloomington.