Two travel to AAU Jr. Olympics -- Eiler, Matthews play with Sox
Two Carroll County athletes got to compete at the 2003 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Mich., from July 22 to Aug. 2, along with 20,000 other athletes in the 21 sports that were played.
Nick Eiler from Eureka Springs and C.J. Matthews from Green Forest played baseball on the Central Arkansas Sox team out of Little Rock in the 16-year-old division that featured 47 teams.
The Sox finished the regular season with a 24-3 record, then played 10 games in Detroit to finish with a 30-7 mark and fifth place nationally. The Sox went 6-4 in the national tournament, with their four losses coming to top six finishers.
The Sox started out with a 6-1 victory over the Westside Warriors from Michigan, then lost 5-0 to the Diamond Kings from Missouri Valley.
The Sox lost 9-4 to Chet Lemon's Juice, the defending AAU champs and No. 1 seed, then moved on to championship pool play.
The Sox lost 3-1 to the East Cobb Astros, the eventual winners of the tournament, then broke through with an 8-3 win over the Houston Miracle All Star team.
They had another big game against the Southfield Padres from Michigan, winning 19-6, then went into the sudden death bracket.
The Sox pulled out a 1-0 win to advance over the South Shore Seadogs from Massachusetts, with Eiler hitting the game-winning RBI.
That advanced the Sox to the championship bracket, where they took another loss to Chet Lemon's Juice, 5-3. They got a win in their next game, an 11-8 victory over Concordia, Mass., then avenged an earlier loss to the Diamond Kings with an 8-3 score to take the fifth place trophy.