Carroll county Legends go 5-0 to win state
The Carroll County Legends defeated Mountain Home on Sunday to win the 11-year old Babe Ruth State Baseball Tournament in Batesville. After losing in the regional tournament two weeks ago, the Legends considered ending their season, but coach Chad Hipps is glad they decided to keep going.
"I have kept telling them over the last three years that their hard work is going to pay off and for three years they kept looking at me like I was crazy wandering when that was going to happen," Hipps said. "They kept believing in themselves and the good lord that brought us there and it paid off."
It was a long weekend for the Legends, as they had to win five games in three days. On Friday, they defeated Jonesboro and Blytheville by a combined score of 24-4. On Saturday, the Legends defeated Walnut Ridge 3-1.
After defeating Blytheville on the first day, the Legends had to play them again in the semifinals on Sunday. Even though the Legends led 4-0 early, Blytheville didn't make it easy.
"They had four runs in the fourth inning," Hipps said. "That gave them a 6-4 lead. Then we came back and scored some runs in the bottom of the fifth to beat them 7-6. That was just an incredible game."
To win the championship, the Legends had to beat Mountain Home, the team that they had lost to in the regional championship two weeks earlier.
"They beat the snot out of us in districts, but we had a little different strategy in pitching this time and it paid off," Hipps said. "We beat them 4-1. When we played them in districts, I pitched my son (Chris Hipps) who is my hardest thrower. They had his timing down from the word go. And this time I pitched Mason Meador, a left-handed pitcher. He has a little bit of natural movement to his ball and they couldn't get his timing down. They couldn't hit off him."
Hipps said the major reason the Legends won the championship was because of the superb defense they played throughout the weekend.
"As long as I've been coaching these boys, I have never seen them play better defense than they did over the weekend," Hipps said. "We played a total of five games and I bet in five games, we didn't have more than three errors in five games. You wouldn't believe some of the plays these boys were making."
Hipps said that when he first started coaching the Legends three years ago, he thought of them as a hitting team, but as time has gone on, they have converted into more of a defensive team.
"Somehow, someway, sometime we have transformed from on offensive team to a defensive team," Hipps said. "Our defense was just incredible. We had some great pitching, but defensive plays were just incredible. Logan Isbell on shortstop was incredible. He didn't look like an 11-year old. Ashton Blok on third base didn't have a single error."
Hipps is very proud of what the team has accomplished but is even more encouraged about the future.
"If this team sticks together there is no limit about what they can do," Hipps said. "A team from Berryville or Carroll County becomes state champions in three years time. If I can get this group of boys together, I believe there is no limit to what they can do. They are 11 years old right now. I can't wait to see what they look like when they are 16 years old and still playing together."
For the weekend, Colton Spinning had nine hits, while Isbell and Aspen Williams had eight and Mason Meador had seven. Isbell had eight RBIs and Hipps seven. Meador had nine strikeouts.