The 11- and 12-year-old Morehead Youth All-Stars have used the long ball to win games all season long.
The District 6 championship against Ashland National was no different.
Preston Adkins, Devin Davidson and Bradley Gardner each hit one out of the park as the Morehead All-Stars defended its championship by defeating Ashland National 11-1 in four innings on Saturday at Don Greenhill Park in Morehead.
“It’s good to see all of this hard work pay off,” Morehead manager Toby Gardner said. “All of these coaches have thrown our arms out to get these kids ready. These kids deserve all of the credit. They came ready to play every game and now we’re off to the state tournament.”
Morehead moves on to play the winner of District 7 on July 19 at the Little League State Tournament in Bowling Green.
Adkins, who had three home runs already throughout the Area 1 tournament, hit a towering shot to left field to give Morehead a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
While looks can be deceiving, Adkins could be considered one of the smallest kids on the team, but Gardner calls him the “little-big guy.”
“About two or three games here in this tournament, I’ve heard fans and coaches say ‘watch for the bunt,’” Gardner said. “When you have a kid that can hit for power like that, you don’t need to bunt.”
Davidson, a two-run shot and Gardner’s solo act both hit their roundtrippers in the bottom of the second inning. Gardner is Toby’s son and he had a “proud papa moment” when his son rounded third base.
“He’s more of a line-drive hitter instead of going for power but it was icing on the cake,” Gardner said.
Shortstop Devon Stevens had two hits and an RBI for Morehead.
Morehead pitcher Corey Binion would do the rest. He threw a no-hitter and struck out 14 batters in the opening game of the Area 1 District 6 Tournament last week against Grayson. He was equally as impressive against Ashland National, giving up one hit while fanning 11 batters.
“We know what we’re going to get out of Corey every time he steps out on the mound for us,” Gardner said. “He was gone on vacation after our first game and it’s a testament to our kids who stepped up while he wasn’t here.
“We got him back here and we felt like we were in good shape heading in to the finals.”
The only hit Binion surrendered was a leadoff single in the fourth inning by Ashland National pitcher Casey Sparks.
“We faced a very tough pitcher tonight,” Ashland National manager Greg Hill said. “We tried to slow him down at the plate but it seemed to us that he got better after that.”
ASH. NATIONAL 001 0 — 1 1 0
MOREHEAD 340 4 — 11 7 1
Binion and Eastham; Sparks, Davidson and Beach. W—Binion. L—Sparks. 2B—Binion. HR—Adkins, Davidson, Gardner.