The 14-and-Under boys divisions at Hendrix Park capped off an exciting season last week which ended with two Hendrix Park home teams, the Crushers and the Diamond Backs, colliding for the division CAA championship. The Crushers, coached by John Curl, took the title in a nail-biting 6-5 game.
This is Curl’s, who has coached at Hendrix for seven years, first championship team. He came close last year by coaching a 12 and Under team to second place. Curl said he had a true winning combination this year with a highly talented group of youngsters and assistant coaches Matt Herb, Keith Cook and Dwayne Williams.
It was the Diamond Backs, coached by Nick Rud, who hit the ground running in the first inning. Nicholas Rud, Zach Shinall, who hit a triple, Dylan McCoy and Brandon Lyons all scored a run in the first inning, giving them a strong 4-0 early lead.
"They jumped on us early," said Curl. "But we finally wore them down and got to their pitcher."
In the second, Crushers' Shane Dillon and Corey Cook retaliated to the Diamond Backs’ scoring assault by both scoring.
Crusher Bradley Sullivan scored a run in the fourth followed by Crusher Mark Bender scoring a run in the fifth to even the score 4-4.
In the sixth, Christopher Kight scored for the Diamond Backs, putting them ahead by 1. A virtual tug of war on the scoreboard commenced as the Crushers came back with Bradley Sullivan getting a run to again tie the game up.
At the tail end of the game, Shane Dillon scored the winning run to give the Crushers the win and the CAA title.
The CAA division consists of Bloomingdale, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Garden City and two Hendrix Park teams. When the game started, these two Hendrix Park teams were tied with six wins each and one loss each.
"This was a great game that could have gone either way," said Curl. "All of these boys should be very proud of their season."
After the victory, the Crushers exploded with excitement and even dumped the water keg over Curl’s head. The Crushers are: Corey Cook, Dalton Cook, Travis Herndon, Alex Covington, Shane Dillon, Tyler Kirby, Tyler Mikell, Bradley Sullivan, Mathew Herb, Robbie Gleason, Mark Bender, Brandon Miller and Joey Dunn.
The Diamond Backs are: Michael Almay, Chris Almay, Kevin Billman, David Sharpe, Cameron Duncan, Keith Gray, Christopher Kight, Brandon Lyons, Jacob McBride, Nicholas Rud, Zach Shinall, Cody Griffin, and Dylan McCoy.
The Crushers will now advance to district play in Baxley where they will have a shot at the state championship for their division. For that competition and for the All-Star competition in Hendrix Park as well, the Crushers will consist of ten existing team members and five Diamond Back members.
Curl said he has spoken with BCHS baseball coach Al Butler about some of the current Crushers potential to be dominant Redskins player. Curl pointed out to Butler the superior pitching skills of Corey Cook and the traits of several other prospects which he said peaked Butler’s scouting interests.