14s out to extend perfection
Pitching and defense have fueled Janesville’s 14-year-old baseball tournament team.
Janesville begins play in the double-elimination Ohio Valley Regional on Saturday in Robinson, Ill., against the winner of today’s opening-round game between Northern Illinois and West Virginia.
The local 14s breezed to a state title last weekend and have not lost a tournament game this season.
“So far, everything has been clicking for us,” Janesville coach Ron Kobs said. “It starts with our pitching, which has been lights out so far. But obviously, the competition is about to get much stronger.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well up and down the lineup, and if everyone in the order is producing, we’re going to be a tough out at the regional.”
Nick Blomgren is expected to pitch the opener for Janesville. Blomgren plays shortstop when he’s not pitching and is the second-leading hitter on the team behind first baseman Connor Bowen. Janesville is batting well over .300 as a team, led by leadoff hitter Bowen’s .450 average.
Alongside Bowen and Blomgren in the infield are second baseman McCauley Cox and third baseman Alex Faust. Alex Marro handles most of the catching duties for Janesville.
Janesville’s outfield has Charlie Platts in left, Brennan Olin in center and either Kevin Brandt or Logan Coulter in right.
Jarrod Hoffarth is the No. 2 pitcher for Janesville and a probable DH in game one.
Other key members of the team are Brock Welch, J.T. Smithback and Dominic Gruenwald.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with how this team has come together,” Kobs said. “Everybody knows their role and what is expected of them.
“Every game is going to come down to which team executes best and makes plays. I don’t think you can say any one team is the favorite, but I do like the way we’re playing right now.”