Janesville 9U baseball team opens regional today
To win major tournaments, a baseball team must know how to prevail in a variety of ways.
If this season is any indicator, Janesville’s 9-year-old state-champion team could be in for further success at the Ohio Valley Regional this week.
The team begins play in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, with a pair of games today. Janesville faces Huron Valley (Mich.) and South Lexington (Ky.) to open pool play at the tournament.
The group enters with a 34-3 overall record and won seven of the eight tournaments it entered by winning in all sorts of fashions.
“We won games early in the season with pitching and defense,” manager Matt Stried said. “But our bats came alive in the state tournament, as we scored 21 and 16 runs in the two championship games against a pretty solid Stevens Point pitching staff.”
The 16-run outing came against what Stried said was one of the best pitchers the team faced all year.
He’s not afraid to send all 13 of his players to the plate, while many teams opt to stick to their solid nine. The leading hitters throughout the year were Jake Schaffner, Connor Dillon, Ian Perkins and Keagan Clark.
The depth extends into the pitching staff, as well. Stried said he’s put 12 different players on the mound this year.
The staff is anchored by Ian Perkins, Schaffner, Clark, Dylan Snyder and Jack Ryan.
Ryan has provided some inspiration to the team after pneumonia landed him in the hospital following the state-tourney triumph. Ryan got out of the hospital this week but is doubtful to play.
Brent Klukas handles most of the catching duties for Janesville and has allowed only a handful of stolen bases over nearly 40 games. He can be spelled by Perkins or Dillon when necessary.
“Having three very good catchers gave us a huge advantage when playing multiple games in the same day,” Stried said.
Defensively, Dillon holds down third base, Schaffner shortstop and Joseph Stried at second to lead the way in the infield. Jack Adams, Brayden Bastian and Ryan anchor a speedy outfield.
Ed Stried, Tim Adams and Steve Perkins assist Matt Stried with the coaching.
They hope their group’s versatility in winning leads to a fun stretch in Kentucky.