Pre-majors advance to state title game

Published 12:02am Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vidalia — A spark in the fifth inning sealed the deal for the East Central pre-majors as they defeated the Jefferson Parish Recreation District (JPRD) 7-1 to advance to the state championship.

East Central will play the winner of the Monroe All-stars/JRPD game from the loser’s bracket at 6:30 p.m. today at the Concordia Recreation District 3 Complex for a spot in the World Series in Chipley, Fla., July 26.

The game started off slow for East Central, but they managed to pull ahead 1-0 in the first inning before JRPD evened the score in the top of the second.

“It was a dogfight from there with (pitcher Thomas) Garrity on the mound and us locking them down, but we couldn’t get many hits,” said head coach Sessions Vestal.

Ahead 2-1 in the fourth, East Central didn’t get JRPD off their back until the fifth inning when Jake Barlow stepped to the plate with two runners on base and hit the team’s first home run of the tournament.

That three-run hit gave East Central a 5-1 lead, and Jake Cooper fed off that energy to hit a home run right after Barlow.

“It was like the monkey was off our back,” Vestal said. “We knew coming in a lot of other guys have power (in their swings) and we were worried.”

Garrity pitched 6 1/2 innings for East Central with nine strikeouts and East Central advanced to the finals after scoring two more runs to finish the game.

Vestal said it has been a long time coming for the pre-majors to be in the state championship, and he hopes to see community support at the complex today.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of two and outs, and I would appreciate if the community would come out and watch us because it is a big deal,” he said. “ The boys deserve that.”