Ironton Jr. League All-Stars begin regional play
Published 11:15 pm Thursday, August 4, 2022
By Jim Walker
One good turn deserves a better one.
After winning the state championship last season, the Ironton Junior League 13-14-year-old All-Stars played in the regional tournament.
Ironton won a second straight state title two weeks ago during the tournament held at the Rock Hill Little League as they routed Cuyahoga Falls 12-1.
Ironton — which outscored its opponents 77-8 during the tournament — begins regional play at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday against the Indiana state champions Jasper All-Stars in Midland, Michigan. The tournament will run through Aug. 12.
The Ironton pitcher said playing in the regional tournament last season will be a decisive advantage.
“Experience definitely helps in this situation,” said Philyaw. “We’re familiar with all the teams there, we’re familiar with our competition. We went up there and played well and played our game.”
Tyson Harvey, who went 2-for-2 with a pair of runs batted in as Ironton rolled past Cuyahoga Falls agreed that last season’s appearance in the regional tournament enabled the team to gain valuable experience.
“I think it’s going to make up better as players and as teammates. We’re going to go up there and work together and win it all and do something Ironton has never done before which is to win a regional,” said Harvey.
Ironton doesn’t know a great deal about Jasper’s team at the junior league level but it has
During the state tournament run, Ironton routed Enon 16-6 and also beat Cuyahoga Falls 25-0 in an earlier game.
Team members include Jacob Hughes, Brycen Mullins, Tyson Harvey, Bryson Kerns, Braydon Baker, Carter Bridges, Beckham Waginger, Braiden Linn, Nate Sloan, Carson Akers, Drake Bundy and Jase Williams. The team’s manager is Johnny Hughes and coaches are Craig Harvey, Jason Philyaw and Scott Meadows.
Ironton assistant coach Jason Philyaw said every team comes into the tournament blind. He said the only thing Ironton knows about Jasper is the high school has a good baseball program.
“They’re high school team is good and won a state championship. Every class of their high school has had a team play in the state championship at least once since 1988,” said Philyaw.
A key to baseball is always pitching and defense and Jason Philyaw said those are two attributes for Ironton.
“We’re hitting the ball really well, but our strength is pitching and defense. We’ve had very few errors and we’re about five deep in terms of pitching,” said Philyaw noting a pitching staff that includes Braden Baker, Nate Sloan, Bryson Mullins, Bryson Kerns and Dawson Philyaw.
But according to Jason Philyaw, this team has some intangibles to offer.
“Our kids are just so versatile and you have to have that. We have a lot of kids who can play so many positions. It’s a very talented group they’re fun to be around.,” he said.
The regional champion will advance to the Junior League World Series to be held in Taylor, Michigan, starting Aug. 14.